Preparticipation Evaluation of the Young Athlete: What an Orthopaedic Surgeon Needs to Know

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Abstract

The preparticipation evaluation (PPE) is a widely used tool for detecting health conditions that may delay or disqualify athletic participation. The medical interview is the most valuable tool for identifying athletes who may be at increased risk for injury. Physical examination is tailored to identifying cardiac abnormalities or factors that may place an athlete at increased risk for injury. Although practiced in Europe, universal cardiac screening with electrocardiography is not currently recommended in the United States largely due to the high rate of false-positive results. Neuropsychological testing for management of concussion and laboratory testing for sickle cell trait may be indicated in select groups of athletes. Health care providers should view the PPE as a chance for anticipatory guidance and athlete-directed health counseling. Despite widespread acceptance of the PPE, the quality of such examinations varies significantly, which is an area for possible improvement and further research.

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