In response to a request from the House of Delegates to study the value of the preparticipation athletic examination for adolescents, the American Medical Association Board of Trustees prepared a report reviewing the current health status of adolescent athletes and the efficacy of trying to identify which athletes are at risk for injury and sudden death. It found that between 22% and 39% of athletes sustain an injury that results in their not completing a practice or game or causes them to miss a subsequent practice or game. The existing state of information suggests that the preparticipation athletic examination is helpful in identifying adolescents at risk for orthopedic injury. The usefulness of the examination to identify adolescents at risk for sudden cardiac death or who have previously undiagnosed medical disorders is not substantiated by the research literature. The identification of orthopedic problems is maximized by the station approach. The guidelines developed in 1988 by the American Academy of Pediatrics provide the most current source on which conditions disqualify athletes from specific sports. Special care must be taken, however, to ensure that adolescents are not excluded unnecessarily from participation.
(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:93-98)