Conversion reactions in pediatric athletes

J Pediatr Orthop. Nov-Dec 1991;11(6):770-2. doi: 10.1097/01241398-199111000-00013.


We report five children and adolescents who displayed a conversion reaction in response to stresses induced by athletic competition. Failure to make proper diagnosis led to additional physician referral, needless testing, rehabilitation, or orthotic management. Patients are characterized as high achievers who are frequently younger than peers in the sport. Conversation between child and physician identified the source of conflict in four patients. Physical therapy helps resolve symptoms associated with an acute episode and facilitates transition into psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is recommended only for patients with persistent maladaptive behavior.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arm
  • Child
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Conversion Disorder / diagnosis
  • Conversion Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paralysis / psychology
  • Paraplegia / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Sports / psychology*