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Questions about Sports Physical?

Common Questions Parents Have About the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation (PPE) or sports physical.

(Source : American Academy of Pediatrics)


  1. My son / daughter had a physical examination for participation in football last year. Does he / she still need to see his / her physician this year?

Although the PPE is comprehensive, it was never designed to take the place of a regular physician visit. The setting or time allocation for the PPE is often not conducive to discussions of health issues that are of primary importance during the adolescent years, such as drug and alcohol use, smoking, sexual activity education, safety issues, and diagnosis of depression. Therefore, the PPE should really be a small portion of a standard health supervision visit for all active patients.

2. When should my child have a PPE relative to the beginning of an athletic season?

The best time for the PPE is approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the beginning of the athletic season. This period allows enough time for thorough evaluations, consultations, and rehabilitation of any identified musculoskeletal injuries.

3. Do I need to attend the PPE with my child?

Although you may not be asked to attend the PPE with your child, you should review the accuracy and completeness of the medical history and family history provided. Your child may not know or remember some of the history. Most of the important information obtained in the PPE is obtained from the history.

4. How often will my son or daughter need a PPE?

The frequency of required evaluations varies by state. Most commonly, a PPE is required every other year. To determine the requirements of your state, check with the school district or the state high school athletic association.

5. Will my child need to undergo any laboratory or radiographic studies at the PPE?

Routine laboratory studies and radiographs are not generally performed. Based on information obtained during the history and physical examination, however, your physician may think that further studies are indicated.

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