Revised Preparticipation Physical Evaluation Aims to Improve Health of Student-Athletes

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223

LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Academy of Family Physicians, along with five other medical societies, has introduced an updated Preparticipation Physical Evaluation (PPE), for use by physicians and other healthcare professionals in evaluating the physical condition of student-athletes.

The PPE is the definitive guide for the evaluation of athletes before training or competition, and is an essential tool for promoting the health and safety of athletes. The PPE provides the medical background for decisions made by the individual athlete’s physician or the team physician.

The other participating medical societies are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.

The new version of the PPE reflects the latest medical and scientific knowledge and includes information on ethical and legal considerations and on evaluating athletes with special needs.

The PPE marks important progress in the movement to ensure the health and safety of youth athletes. Each year, more than 12 million students have a PPE. The evaluation covers issues that could place them at risk during practice or competition such as heart and lung problems, head injuries, heat exhaustion, hydration, overuse, overscheduling and cultural issues. In addition, screening and education can possibly detect and prevent complications related to conditions such as diabetes and sickle cell disease.

“While the PPE does screen for potentially catastrophic conditions, we also try to catch conditions that can predispose an athlete to injury or illness,” said William Roberts, M.D., co-editor of the revised PPE. “And, for some adolescents, these evaluations are their entry into, and only contact with, the health care system. Doing these screenings across the board — and doing them well — is of the utmost importance.”

The AAFP also is a founding member of the newly launched PPE Campaign and Coalition for Youth Sports Health and Safety, which focuses on improving the quality and consistency of pre-competition medical evaluations of U.S. student-athletes by promoting the widespread adoption of the updated PPE tool.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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