Home » Health & Safety Channel » General Safety Center » Preparticipation Physical Evaluations & Exams (Sports Physicals) » All Pre-Participation Evaluation Forms Are Not Created Equal

All Pre-Participation Evaluation Forms Are Not Created Equal

Lack of uniformity poses challenges for parents

How Long Is The Form Good For?

In most places, the completed PPE allows a child to play sports for a period of a year, although the time period is longer in some states (in Connecticut, for instance, a physical is good for 13 months). It is therefore important for you to check with your child's school or club so you'll know when your child needs to take another physical exam and can schedule the exam in advance. The last thing you want is to have your child kid pulled off the team in the middle of the season because her physical expired or because you couldn't get her an appointment with her pediatrician.

Is Your School Saving The Form?

Schools and YSOs need to save the PPE forms for a long time. I suggest saving the forms until the youngest child on a team is an adult. Then, hold the forms for four or five more years - just to play it safe.

Children don't generally have an independent right to sue. Their parents get to make those choices for them. However, once the child becomes an adult he can void his parents' decision not to sue, and bring lawsuits for things that happened a long time ago.

The new adult receives a period of time to bring his/her suit. After that period of time, the kid can't sue. That time period is called the statute of limitations. It's usually one to three years. A sports sponsor should check with its attorney to find out when children become adults for purposes of bringing a lawsuit in its state and to find out how long the stature of limitations period is. The forms should be saved for that length of time - and probably a year or two extra just to play it safe.

No Excuses

Schools, YSOs and parents will occasionally try to make excuses about doing and maintaining PPEs. I've seen schools lose forms because they had a change in athletic directors. I've seen athletic directors who gave the originals to a coach to take to the game, only to have the coach lose them (a tip: give the coach the copies and file the originals). I've had parents argue that their insurance company only covers so many medical checkups per year, or they don't have any health insurance at all, so they can't do a PPE. At the end of the day, no excuses are acceptable. Our kids' health and our schools' money are on the line.