These young athletes must be examined prior to the upcoming season for their sports, but the currently used mandatory preseason exams are too often more ceremonial than informative. This is because so many kids need to be examined in such brief periods of time. A cough here and a lean forward there…and it doesn’t take much for a kid to be labeled healthy.
In addition, the currently used exam looks primarily at eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Although the structural component of the athlete (his or her musculoskeletal system, or biomechanics) is the true at-risk system, no one looks at any part of the musculoskeletal system in these preseason exams.
It is also a fact that, although musculoskeletal breakdown and degeneration is the leading cause of disability over the age of 50 in the U.S., we’re not planning ahead for our young athletes.
We’re not taking advantage of the once-a-year exam opportunity for student athletes. We’re not giving them any biomechanical information. That’s why they’re unable to proactively work on improving their biomechanics. This, combined with a more physically demanding high school athletic schedule, will surely create worse statistics and greater costs for these young athletes 30 years from now.
I created the Concerned Parents of Young Athletes™ (CPOYA) Program in 2008 to raise the awareness of sports biomechanics in middle school and high school students. This age group (approximately 12–18) will be raised using current healthcare system guidelines, which include addressing needs only when symptoms are present.