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Sports triage medical screening and physical therapy management

Medical Screening is the process by which a physical therapist uses both subjective and objective examination to evaluate collected data and use clinical reasoning to make a decision as to whether to treat the patient, refer the patient or initiate both treatment and referral (1,2). Medical screening is conducted at the ‘systems level’, which involves identifying ‘red flag’ signs and/or symptoms (1). Red flags can be placed into the following classification system: Category I: Factors that require immediate medical attention; Category II: Factors that require subjective questioning and precautionary examination and treatment procedures; and Category III: Factors that require further physical testing and differentiation analysis (3). Physical therapists’ expertise in identifying movement-related dysfunction fulfils the minimum professional requirement to identify pathology falling outside the scope of physical therapy practice (2). This article will highlight appropriate medical screening and physical therapy management for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), concussion and ankle fractures.

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