American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
AMSSM Releases Guidance Statement about Sports Physicals for Athletes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine has released a statement on “Interim Guidance on the Pre-participation Physical Exam for Athletes during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.”
This guidance statement provides a framework and tools for evaluating athletes prior to sport participation in the setting of COVID-19 based on the best currently available evidence (as of July 2020) and expert opinion. It will be published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and Current Sports Medicine Reports later this year.
The statement is intended to provide clinicians with a clinical framework to return athletes of all levels to training and competition during the pandemic and is not intended to address treatment, infection control principles or public health issues related to SARS-CoV2.
“As parents consider sports participation for their student athlete during the pandemic, obtaining an updated sports physical should be part of that process in returning athletes of all levels back to training and competition,” said Alex Diamond, DO, MPH, FAMSSM, one of the lead authors of the statement. “In this rapidly changing and difficult medical landscape, it is our hope that this document provides both a clinical framework and tools for evaluating athletes prior to sport participation in the setting of COVID-19 based on the best currently available evidence. Even if not participating in formal sports, engaging in physical activity has never been more critical.
“Therefore, to promote safe participation for everyone, we urge that the PPE occur during the well-child exam as part of comprehensive care within the medical home.”
The guidance statement underscores the importance of pre-participation evaluations during the COVID-19 pandemic, as these evaluations assess the general physical and psychological health of athletes and help identify medical conditions that may put their health at risk.
An additional goal is to provide advice for student-athletes and parents regarding exercise volume and intensity, participation in sport, and minimizing the risk of contracting the disease, emphasizing the importance of exercise to both physical and mental health during a time when everyone is supposed to be physical distancing.
The ultimate purpose of this document is to address the unique issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it urges healthcare providers to remain alert for the ever-changing nature of this pandemic and seek additional data to drive medical decision making.
“Participation in sport is a great way to not only teach your child the significance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and physical activity but promote the importance of being proactive about their health,” said Dusty Marie Narducci, MD, one of the lead authors of this statement. “A valuable opportunity to detect life-threatening medical conditions and to provide health education to youth athletes, the pre-participation exam should not be missed even during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document establishes the value of assessing the bodily and mental health of our athletes during a time when physical distancing is necessary.
“AMSSM will continue its commitment to assist parents and athletes in maintaining safety, especially throughout times of uncertainty.”
About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic and Paralympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. www.amssm.org
NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.