Working for Akron Children’s is a win-win for Dr. Aaron Sweeney. He gets the opportunity to blend his love of pediatric medicine with his passion for all-things sports.
As our newest pediatrician and sports medicine physician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Boardman, Dr. Sweeney is living out his dream to treat children and teens with minor to acute medical conditions, while providing additional expertise to diagnose and treat sports-related injuries. His goal is to provide top-quality care and serve as an approachable, invaluable resource to quickly get kids back in the game — whether it’s a backyard baseball game or a highly anticipated soccer tournament.
Working here is a career goal for Dr. Sweeney because the former football player gets to tackle his dream role in his hometown, near family, all the while working for an organization whose mission is one he truly believes in.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I have always wanted to remain local throughout my medical training and my medical career. I have been very fortunate to be able to do just that. I attended Youngstown State University for undergrad, NEOMED for medical school, Akron Children’s for my residency and fellowship, and I chose to remain here for my career.
Not only has Akron Children’s afforded me the opportunity to practice near my hometown, but it also has allowed me to continue to work for an organization whose mission I truly believe in.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish?
As a result of my training, I am both a general pediatrician and a sports medicine physician. Through these roles, I hope to provide top-quality care to my patients and be an approachable resource for all of their general medical and sports-medicine needs.
My role as a general pediatrician allows me to oversee the development of my patients and be there when they become sick. My additional training in sports medicine allows me to be available for pre-sports screening and my patients’ go-to physician for care when they become injured in sports or other activities.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
My area of expertise includes the general medical care of children and adolescents, as well as the care of sports-related injuries in patients of all ages.
I chose general pediatrics because kids have always amazed me with their ability to heal. With just a little help, kids are able to recover quickly from ailments that adults may struggle with for long periods of time. I chose to further my training through a fellowship in sports medicine because as a former athlete, sports played a huge role in my development and continue to be my primary hobby today.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I hope that after each encounter, my patients and families leave knowing that I genuinely cared for their child’s well-being and was willing to do everything I could.
What’s the best part of your day?
By far, the best part of my day is getting to interact with patients and families. I often feel bad that the computer and documentation responsibilities have negatively impacted the patient interaction. It’s that very interaction that motivated me to go into medicine in the first place.
What unique or different skills do you have that help you practice medicine?
First and foremost, I am a general pediatrician. However, my additional training in sports medicine allows me to not only care for the general medical needs of my patients, but also provide an added level of expertise when caring for their sports-related injuries that not all pediatricians can provide.
How does your personality fit your role?
I knew from the very beginning of medical school that I belonged in a field where patient interaction was at the forefront. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to engage in conversation. Outpatient medicine affords me the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with my patients on a regular basis so I can get to know them and their families.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my ability to become a physician and have a career in medicine. Coming from a family where neither of my parents went to college, achieving this goal required an enormous amount of hard work and sacrifice. Not having anyone to show me the way forced me to navigate my own path. Though the journey to becoming a physician was difficult, the fact that I was able to achieve my goal with minimal guidance has been very rewarding.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lisbon, OH, a small town just south of Youngstown. So, once I knew there was an opportunity to come back to the Youngstown area to practice medicine, I was very excited.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family consists of my wife, Jennifer, our son, Jaxson, and our pets: Ace (dog) and Mia (cat).
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For most of my childhood, I wanted to be a garbage man. My interest in medicine didn’t come until I was an adolescent.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
Besides spending time with my family, my favorite hobby is golf. Though, I wish more rounds played resulted in automatic lower scores.
What was your first paying job?
My first paying job was working at a local pizza shop in my hometown. It was short-lived, though, because I started working as a truck driver for the Columbiana County engineers office the next summer.