Why the phantom injuries of children

Just as a child's belly hurts before going to a school exam, they may feel pain in a leg, ankle, or arm before a game, tournament, or sports competition. The stress that these events generate in children, when they are under pressure, causes them to somatize some ailments giving rise to a psychological disorder that is known as Conversion syndrome and that the place to ghost injuries of the kids.

Conversion syndrome and phantom injuries in children

These ghost sports injuries they are not feigned, children really feel them, but they do not have a physiological cause, nor can they be medically proven. The SConversion syndrome also known as Children's Legs Syndrome consists of the appearance of sports injuries without apparent cause in children or adolescents subjected to some type of pressure in the sport they practice. These alleged sports injuries are not confirmed after the examination and the diagnostic tests indicate the absence of them.


To explain this disorder, Dr. Barriga, head of the Trauma Service of HM IMI Toledo, clarifies that "the patient, in this case, the child does not invent the injury and does not pretend, suffers as real, even if it does not exist. Psychiatry is called Conversion Syndrome, that is, the patient gets a gain (rest, justification for not reaching goals ...) with the alleged injury. "

Generally, when children with these phantom injuries come to the clinic they explain unusual and unconvincing symptoms. "In these cases," explains Dr. Barriga, "we try to subtly investigate the possible presence of a conflict with the father or sometimes with the coach." It is important to determine if the child may be subject to excessive pressure and if so, talk with parents about the subject trying to make them see that in childhood sports should be a form of play, relationship and maturation, but above all, not competitive.In the most severe cases, the collaboration of a psychologist can help. "


First cases in the United States

The first cases are registered in the Baseball Children's Leagues in the United States and it is also known as "Tractor Hat Green Syndrome" because of the image of the typical father with green baseball cap of a well-known brand of tractors shouting from the band of the field to your child, to other players or to the referee himself while developing a child or youth match.

Childhood phantom injuries in Spain

"In Spain, it is mostly seen in football, where professionals have more visibility and receive higher salaries." To this is added the early age at which clubs begin to sign their quarries making the family turn their illusions in the child All this environment can become oppressive, especially for those children who do not reach the required level and causes so-called injuries to appear that justify the drop in performance, "emphasizes Dr. Barriga.


For the Head of Traumatology of HM IMI Toledo and professor of the Faculty of Sports Sciences of the UCLM "it is important to change the attitudes of excessive pressure in the parents and to take into account that the infantile sport is a form of learning and maturation and, Despite the logical desire to win, we must not forget that the most important thing, especially at these ages, is to have fun and participate. "

Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: Doctor Barriga, Head of the Trauma Service of HM IMI Toledo.

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