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Value of sports pre-participation examination in health care for adolescents

Donald E. Greydanus, Dilip R. Patel, Eugene F. Luckstead, Helen D. Pratt

Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(9): RA204-214

ID: 11754

Though adolescence is typically perceived as a time of good health in many places in the world, the reality is that adolescents have many health problems, including medical and behavioral disorders. The ideal location for health maintenance visits is the office of a clinician who has an establishd relationship with the adolescent patient. The clinician can use the interest of youth for sports to improve the health care of these youth in various ways, as reviewed in this article. A sports pre-participation examination (PPE) is recommended before the adolescent engages in organized sports. During this evaluation, various issues can be covered, including anticipatory guidance for sports participation, stress involved with organized sports, drug or supplement abuse in sports, eating disorders, and weight control practices, injury prevention, principles of sports participation, the importance of regular physical activity and normal growth and development. The pre-participation examination is reviewed in this article, including taking a proper history, performing the physical examination, and ordering appropriate laboratory tests. Youth with medical illnesses can be clinician-directed to the sports activities that are best and safest for them. Keeping youth active in some type of physical activity is important and thus, the examination can be used to allow full or partial participation in all or only some sports. This paper summarizes the clinician’s approach to using sports activities as a way of improving the health of youth.

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