New Guidelines for Sports Physicals

Preparticipation Physical Evaluation has been updated
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The nation’s leading medical experts have updated guidance for the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, also known as the sports physical. The exam determines the medical eligibility of students to participate in an organized team sport or individual sport, or to attend sports camps from middle school through the college years. The exam typically takes place every one to three years, depending on state and local requirements.

The updated publication, “Preparticipation Physical Evaluation 5th Edition,” provides new guidance for the PPE that includes evaluating students’ mental health, as well as additional information on female and transgender athletes. 

The experts recommend incorporating the sports physical into each student’s routine health screening visit for reasons related to privacy, access to comprehensive family medical records, time for anticipatory guidance and updating immunizations. 

The updated guidance also acknowledges that, increasingly, teens and young adults struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. During a sports physical, a physician can also cover topics such as bullying, drug and alcohol use, and birth control within a safe, confidential space. The evaluation now asks for sexual identity at birth and identifying gender. For the transgender athlete, resources are provided within a new chapter in the publication. 

The organizations that created the exam requirements include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The PPE is also endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations and National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

SOURCE: Preparticipation Evaluation 5th Edition. Learn more at


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