Thursday, November 2, 2017

Goalkeeping and Medicine: Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!

The Blogger-slightly left of center-front row-as a goalkeeper on the Colgate University Men's Soccer Team

As a lifelong soccer player and goalkeeper this unique perspective in JAMA comparing soccer goalkeeping with medical decision making resonated with me.  

During penalty kicks, many of us reflexively pick a side and dive. Goalkeepers may be better off standing in the center of the goal, first reading the eyes, hip and feet of the shooter and then reacting to the kick. Without a doubt, quality goalkeepers develop a proficiency in positioning and reading the intentions of attackers. Good keepers hold their ground and react deliberately.

Much of modern medicine is practiced reflexively. A symptom or complaint results in a battery of tests readily ordered with the computer mouse in the electronic medical record. 

We should hold our ground, 'dive' less reflexively when evaluating patients and strive for a more thoughtful approach to diagnosis. 

Of course, this takes time, practice and reflection, just like the mastery of any skill, like soccer goalkeeping.

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