Blog posts tagged in PPE

Posted by on in Clinical Techniques

One football program. Five years. Six deaths. Two life-altering injuries. Earlier this year I visited Tarleton University in Stephenville, Texas, "The Cowboy Capital of the world". I was devastated to hear about the tragedies that hammered this small community over the last few years. The immediate question that jumps to one's mind is, Why does this happen? Is this totally random, or could it be prevented? 

Why are tragedies happening on the sports field?

In the US, 10 to 15 million athletes participate in organized sport. Fewer than 300 die annually due to a cardiovascular cause, but with head injuries are the main cause for sports deaths. In the bigger picture, this is not a lot of fatal incidents, but are highly visible events with significant liability considerations.

Pre-participation examinations (PPE) are a rite of passage for young athletes. Will it minimize the number of tragedies? The fact is, PPEs are a challenge for most healthcare providers. And it is usually a last minute job.

A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine examined PPE in clinical practice among AAP members and family practitioners in the State of Washington. Many participants reported barriers to the effective performance of PPE:

  • 37% were unsure on how to perform PPE.
  • 50% were unsure about the relative importance of a PPE.
  • 58% reported a lack of standardized approach.
  • 63% felt they did not have enough time with patients.

Guidance for performing effective PPEs is readily available and provided by the AAP and ACSM. The ACC also provides a specific statement on Cardiovascular Screening for competitive athletes

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