Tips from Other Journals

Effects of Sports Participation: Evaluating the Student Athlete


Am Fam Physician. 2001 Dec 1;64(11):1896-1897.

Family physicians are often called on to evaluate children's sports participation eligibility. This process requires a knowledge of the type of sport in question (how strenuous it is and its level of physical contact?) and medical conditions that the child may have. Most children with chronic illnesses will have no difficulty participating in most sports, but clinical judgment is required to make that assessment. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness updated previous policies about sports participation. The update is accompanied by a table that helps explain the impact of 35 medical conditions on sports participation.

The update is based on current information and expert opinion, and assumes that the physician has knowledge of the athlete's health, level of competition, maturity, and use of protective equipment, the availability of rapid treatment if an injury should occur, and the child's and parent/guardian's understanding of the risks.

In some cases (e.g., if the child has more than just a mild congenital heart condition), consultation with a specialist is necessary before a decision can be reached about sports participation. If the athlete or parent/guardian decides to ignore the physician's advice to refrain from sports participation, this decision should be documented, with the child's and/or parent/guardian's signature, in the child's medical record.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Medical conditions affecting sports participation. Pediatrics. May 5, 2001;107:1205–9.



Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


Oct 2021

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue

Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article