Letters to the Editor

Athletic Screening Provides Opportunity to Detect Many Conditions


Am Fam Physician. 2002 Mar 15;65(6).

to the editor: Cardiovascular screening is not the only component of a preparticipation athletic screening. During such physical examinations in the past, I discovered a complete heart block in a husky 12-year-old boy, a heart murmur in a 15-year-old cross-country skier who turned out to have a patent ductus, and a venous hum showing anomalous return of a pulmonary artery with atrial septal defect in a 12-year-old student athlete. These patients needed treatment with a pacemaker, coil occlusion, and intracardiac surgery, respectively. These conditions would have surfaced at a later time, but the preparticipation physical examination was an opportunity to make a difference.

It is important during this examination that physicians look at other problems such as the inflexible athlete, the thrower with an unstable shoulder, the preteen with scoliosis, the high school student with an eating disorder, high-risk behaviors and poor self-image. It is becoming increasingly clear that we should also screen for assets.

By doing so, the preparticipation physical examination becomes an opportunity to set the stage for healthy choices with regard to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It is a wonderful opportunity to practice preventive medicine, and it is hard to estimate the cost savings.

Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.



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