Female Athlete Triad Screening in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Athletes: Is the Preparticipation Evaluation Form Effective?

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ObjectiveTo evaluate the screening practices and preparticipation evaluation (PPE) forms used to identify college athletes at risk for the female athlete triad (triad).DesignPhone and/or e-mail survey.SettingNational Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I universities.ParticipantsAll 347 NCAA Division I universities were invited to participate in a survey, with 257 participating in the survey (74%) and 287 forms collected (83%).Main Outcome MeasuresInformation about the nature of the PPE was requested from team physicians and certified athletic trainers during a phone or e-mail survey. In addition, a copy of their PPE form was requested to evaluate for inclusion of the 12 items recommended by the Female Athlete Triad Coalition for primary screening for the triad.ResultsAll 257 universities (100%) required a PPE for incoming athletes; however, only 83 universities (32%) required an annual PPE for returning athletes. Screening was performed on campus at 218 universities (85%). Eleven universities (4%) were using the recently updated fourth edition PPE. Only 25 universities (9%) had 9 or more of the 12 recommended items included in their forms, whereas 127 universities (44%) included 4 or less items. Relevant items that were omitted from more than 40% of forms included losing weight to meet the image requirements of a sport; using vomiting, diuretics, and/or laxatives to lose weight; and the number of menses experienced in the past 12 months.ConclusionsThe current PPE forms used by NCAA Division I universities may not effectively screen for the triad.

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