Ensuring the Health of the Adolescent Athlete
Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association
Arch Fam Med. 1993;2(4):446-448.
There are an estimated 3.3 million boys and 1.8 million girls participating in interscholastic athletics. Although the preparticipation athletic examination (PAE) has traditionally focused on ensuring the health of the athlete, there has been growing interest in using the PAE to also screen adolescents for their involvement in health-threatening behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, drug use, and unsafe sexual practices. For 80% to 90% of adolescents, the PAE substitutes for a routine physical examination. Adolescent athletes may use alcohol and other drugs for three reasons: (1) They experiment with alcohol and other drugs as part of the larger youth culture. (2) They use ergogenic agents to enhance their athletic performance. (3) They use diuretic agents, emetic agents, or other excessive mechanisms to control weight. The American Medical Association concludes that administration of the PAE is an appropriate time to investigate involvement in health-risk behaviors and to provide adolescent health information.
This report was presented to the House of Delegates as Report B of the Council on Scientific Affairs at the American Medical Association's Annual Meeting, June 1992. The recommendations were adopted as amended and the remainder of the report was filed.
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Preparticipation Screening of Athletes