School Athletes May Need Longer Phys. Exam

DALLAS, Sept. 4 (UPI) — Some schools only require a cursory medical review for athletes on teams but advanced athletes may need a more thorough medical exam, a doctor says.

Dr. Robert Dimeff, director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says a full history and medical exam can help detect problems early, help avoid inflaming old injuries and establish critical baseline information in case of concussions or other injuries. This is also the time to inform the doctor of any relative who has had early cardiac disease, Marfan syndrome or sudden cardiac death — particularly in relatives younger than age 50.

Dimeff suggests parents consider the following screening and baseline tests:

– A routine musculoskeletal screening exam to evaluate injuries that may not have fully resolved from previous seasons or during the summer.

– Baseline computerized neuropsychological testing programs — such as ImPACT, HeadMinder or CogSport — for athletes participating in contact sports like football, soccer or for those who had a previous concussion.

– Vision screening to determine the need for glasses.

Weight, nutrition, supplements and off-season training should all be discussed with the physician and mention any new diseases, medications or surgeries since the prior year to determine if there are special requirements. The doctor should also determine if all immunizations are up to date, including tetanus.

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