Preparticipation Sports Physicals: A Comparison of Single Provider and Station-Based Models.

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BACKGROUND: Preparticipation physical examinations (PPEs) are required for children and adolescents before sports participation to identify at-risk athletes. These evaluations can be completed in a traditional office-based setting or in a station-based format. It is unclear if one format is superior to the other in identifying at-risk athletes.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of children and adolescents between the ages 10 and 18 years who received their PPE in our office or in a station-based setting in a local high school between the years 2009 and 2015.

RESULTS: We reviewed 2934 PPEs total, 1136 in the office-based format and 1798 in the station-based setting. A similar proportion of athletes were excluded or required further evaluation before participation in the office compared with the station-based setting (4.84% vs 5.67%). No statistically significant associations were seen between site of PPE or athlete sex and rate of clearance. There was, however, a statistically significant association between PPE site and reason for exclusion (P = 0.0456) with higher rates of exclusion for vision-related issues in the station-based setting and higher rates of exclusion for musculoskeletal or cardiopulmonary reasons in the office-based setting.

CONCLUSION: When conducted by the same examiners, the office-based and team-based PPE excluded or referred equal number of athletes, although the reason for further evaluation does differ based on setting.