WASHINGTON. May 13, 2010. The PPE Campaign and Coalition for Youth Sports Health and Safety will promote the widespread adoption and consistent use of an updated preparticipation physical evaluation form (PPE) for pre-competition medical screening of U.S. student-athletes. The coalition includes as founding partners leading medical organizations, sports governing bodies and other groups, including MomsTeam, in its fifteenth year of promoting youth sports safety.
"The PPE is an essential part of a responsible athletic program," said former Congressman Jim Ryun, an Olympic medalist and multi-world record holder in track at a Washington, D.C. news conference announcing the launch of the coalition. "These screenings, if done timely and done right, can help prevent the kinds of injuries that can end a career or even a life."
"Done properly, these evaluations can detect conditions such as heart problems," said David Bernhardt, M.D., who served with William Roberts, M.D. as editors of the newly revised PPE. "In addition, screening and education can possibly prevent complications related to conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell trait, or concussion. That information can allow youngsters to safely practice or play sports."
Roberts noted that the new version of the PPE monograph reflects the latest medical and scientific knowledge and includes information on ethical and legal considerations and on evaluating athletes with special needs. "While the PPE does screen for potentially catastrophic conditions, we also try to catch conditions that can predispose an athlete to injury or illness," Roberts said. "And, for some adolescents, these evaluations are their entry into and only contact with the health care system. Doing these screenings across the board-and doing them well-is of the utmost importance."
The public agrees. According to a new online survey conducted by Kelton Research for the American College of Sports Medicine, ninety-six percent of Americans feel it's important for young athletes to be evaluated by a qualified health care professional before they begin playing sports. A similar super-majority (95%) believe such screenings must be conducted in a consistent manner across the U.S.
Inconsistent PPE use yields inconsistent results
At the PPE launch event, coalition members called for widespread adoption of the updated PPE tool. "Requirements for preparticipation evaluations vary widely from state to state," said James R. Whitehead, CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the six medical societies responsible for developing the revised monograph. "Inconsistent effort gets inconsistent results, and too many problems are slipping through the cracks. Every young athlete deserves a thorough screening by a qualified medical professional. [The PPE Coalition] is determined to see that everyone can play or practice safely."
The Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, 4th Edition, is a collaboration of six leading medical societies:
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
- American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
- American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine
The PPE is the definitive guide for physicians and other health professionals who evaluate athletes before training or competition-an essential tool for promoting the health and safety of athletes. The PPE provides the medical background for decisions by the individual athlete's physician or the team physician.
The PPE marks important progress in the movement to ensure the health and safety of youth athletes. Other issues include:
- Heart and lung problems
- Head injury and concussion
- Heat and hydration
- Overuse and overscheduling
- Cultural issues, such as expectations and behavior of athletes, parents, coaches and others.
In furthering its goal of promoting the consistent use of high-quality preparticipation evaluations for youth athletes, the PPE Coalition for Youth Sports Health and Safety will:
- Provide information on its website;
- Run a speakers bureau to offer qualified speakers to build awareness of the importance of the PPE;
- Working with policy makers in legislative and administrative bodies;
- Building momentum and support for April as National Youth Sports Safety Month.
De Lench applauds launch
"For years, MomsTeam has been promoting the consistent use of the preparticipation physical evaluation," said MomsTeam founder and Editor-in-Chief, Brooke de Lench. "We know that the PPE can help identify children and adolescents at risk of injury from playing sports, from congenital heart defects exposing athletes to the risk of sudden cardiac death, to girls suffering from the female athlete triad to athletes with a multiple concussion history that may prompt a recommendation that the athlete not play contact sports," "We applaud the efforts of the PPE Coalition, are proud to be a founding partner, and look forward to promoting its goals."
Medical community largely unaware
In a 2014 study ( )researchers at the University of Cincinnati and University of Washington found that:
- only 37% of physicians and only 6% of high school athletic directors in Washingon State were aware of the PPE Monograph.
- Among physicians, a lack of a standard form (52%) and time with patient (56%) were reported as obstacles to the use of the PPE, although physician awareness of the monograph reduced the perception of obstacles;
- Among ADs, financial limitations of the family was reported to be the primary obstacle (62%)
- Nationally, only 46% of state athletic associations mandate a single form, and only 16% use a form consistent with the Fourth Edition PPE monograph.
While the study was not designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the coalition's efforts, it show
American Academy of Sports Medicine
PR Newswire. Athletes, physicians urge adoption of new medical screening tool. 2010. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/athletes-physicians- urge-adoption-of-new-medical-screening-tool-93681639.html. Accessed October 18, 2012.
Madsen NL, Drezner JA, Salerno JC. The Preparticipation Physical Evaluation: An Analysis of Clinical Practice. Clin J Sports Med. 2014; 24(2):142-149.