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Findings From the Preparticipation Athletic Examination and Athletic Injuries

Robert H. DuRant, PhD; Robert A. Pendergrast, MD, MPH; Carolyn Seymore, MD; Gregory Gaillard; Josh Donner, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(1):85-91. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160130087027.
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• This study investigated the relationships between the findings from a standardized preparticipation athletic examination, the sport played, and athletic injuries requiring treatment by a physician and/or requiring the athlete to miss one or more games. Of public high school students receiving a preparticipation athletic examination during the 1989-1990 academic year, 674 (56%) either completed a telephone interview or returned a mailed questionnaire at the end of the academic year. The sample consisted of 408 (60.5%) blacks and 243 (36.1%) whites; 470 (69.7%) of the subjects were males. The subjects ranged in age from 13 to 20 years (mean ± SD, 16.1 ±1.2 years), and participated in at least 10 school sports. Injuries were reported by 29.5% of the athletes. The highest proportion of athletes injured occurred among male football (36.3%), female basketball (33.3%), male baseball (19.4%), male soccer (17.2%), and female track and field (15.8%) participants. Responses by the athletes and their parents on the standardized health history were significantly associated with injuries in several specific areas. Knee injuries were associated with previous knee injuries, knee surgery, and history of injuries requiring medical treatment. Ankle injuries were associated with previous ankle injuries and previous injuries requiring medical treatment. Both arm and other leg injuries were associated with previous fractures. Male athletes with either abnormal knee or ankle findings. from the physical examination were more likely to injure the knee or ankle, respectively. However, the sensitivities and positive predictive values of these relationships are weak. These data suggest that the preparticipation athletic examination may not predict certain athletic injuries and that additional prevention efforts for specific body areas of injury are needed in certain sports.

(AJDC. 1992;146:85-91)

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