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September 1994

Athletic Preparticipation Examinations for Adolescents

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(9):997-998. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170090111034

In the January 1994 issue of the Archives,1 the Group on Science and Technology of the American Medical Association (AMA) presented a report of the Board of Trustees on preparticipation athletic examinations (PAEs) for adolescents.1 While I have no major problems with the statement insofar as its content, I have serious difficulty with the fact that a severe problem in communication with our patients and their parents is being ignored.

Specifically, I refer to the fact that when adolescents go through a PAE, or as I would call them "athletic readiness screens," physicians do not take the time to instruct both the teenagers and their parents of the fact that these rapid screening examinations do not constitute a "physical examination" in the sense that parents understand them. These examinations are not in any way equivalent to a comprehensive wellness evaluation visit with a primary care practitioner. In fact,