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Recommendations Issued for Preparticipation Physical Exams

Position statement from National Athletic Trainers' Association includes family, personal hx, exams

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Recommendations for preparticipation physical examinations (PPEs) have been updated and standardized, according to a position statement from the National Athletic Trainers' Association published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

Kevin M. Conley, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues developed recommendations for athletic trainers in order to standardize the content and administration of PPEs.

The authors note that the recommendations will provide the sports medicine community with tools to effectively and efficiently conduct the PPE, using scientific evidence and best practices. The recommendations include a comprehensive medical and family history, which should take into account the areas of greatest concern for sport participation, particularly cardiovascular issues, and which can identify 75 percent of problems. In addition, a limited general physical examination, including general health screening, is recommended, while specialized screening, including cardiovascular screening, neurologic screening, orthopedic screening, and general medical screening, should be included if necessary. Medication use, nutritional assessment, and mental health considerations should also be evaluated. The PPE can be conducted four to six weeks before preseason training to allow for follow-up of any findings, but could be conducted on the day of or before preseason training. Clearance of athletes should be based on published guidelines and the best available evidence.

"These suggested guidelines offer a comprehensive approach that we hope will be seriously reviewed and adapted by other sports and health organizations," Conley said in a statement. "Ensuring safe participation and reducing the risk of acute, chronic or catastrophic injury or death remains our primary goal."

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