Letters to the Editor

Value of Preparticipation Physical Examination


Am Fam Physician. 2002 Mar 15;65(6):1037.

to the editor: I read Dr. Searle's letter to the editor in American Family Physician1 and agree that screening criteria are not met with athletic cardiovascular screening. However, I would like to share some of my experiences doing “athletic screening” examinations at a local high school.

I performed physical examinations for $10 each every summer for athletes at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, Md., for seven years. I examined anyone who wished to participate in athletics, but the real impetus was to offer examinations to children who would otherwise not be able to afford a physical in a private physician's office. Not only did I uncover several clinically significant heart problems but also found cases of sexually transmitted disease, undertreated asthma, high blood pressure, childhood obesity, and one case of chronic obstructive renal failure.

I certainly agree with Dr. Searle's opinion regarding the statistics he presented. It would be my hope that those numbers would not deter physicians from doing examinations on student athletes. Children, especially adolescents, are not examined enough as it is. Let's not lose sight of the value of these encounters.


1. Searle A. Cardiovascular screening of student athletes [Letter]. Am Fam Physician. 2001;64:1326–8.

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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