Preparticipation examination screening practices for NCAA Division 1 female athletes.

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Whiteside, Sharon
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to identify and assess screening practices used during the preparticipation examination (PPE) to detect medical and musculoskeletal conditions and potential cardiovascular diseases for female student-athletes. This study identified and described the screening parameters presently being used for PPE at 209 of 318 (66%) NCAA Division I universities having female basketball programs. Preparticipation examination forms were evaluated for content and compared to the AHA (1996) cardiovascular recommendations and to the monograph Preparticipation Physical Evaluation (American Academy of Family Physicians, et al., 1997) developed by five national medical organizations. Information on the administration and scope of the preparticipation screening process was obtained from surveys completed by the Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs).
Most (78%) of the universities performed the PPE in a university health care facility utilizing station-based mass screening and required PPE screening annually. Practically all the universities (99.5%) utilized a team physician to perform the PPE, usually with the assistance of a wide variety of other professional health care providers. The primary sources for determining the PPE requirements were the sports medicine committee, team physicians, ATCs, and the NCAA. The main source for the content of the PPE was the NCAA guidelines. The AHA cardiovascular recommendations and the monograph by the five national medical association's recommendations were not utilized extensively on university forms. Universities that utilized ATCs, and/or dentists as a part of the health care team, and included items concerning the Female Athlete Triad as part of the PPE evaluation, had statistically significant more items from the AHA (1996) cardiovascular recommendations and the five national organizations' monograph (1997) PPE recommendations on their forms. Only 43% of the universities screen for the Female Athletic Triad syndrome components as a part of the PPE.
Recommendations include the development of national PPE standards of care that are specific to screening for participation in sports for both males and females. The NCAA should disseminate these standards of care, since it is already seen as the major source of the content and process of the PPE.
Adviser: M. Jo Edwards.