Yesterday our office participated in the annual ritual of a mass sports physical screening at the local high school. I call this a ritual more than medical practice, because the literature really does not support these events. The chances of picking up a significant cardiac abnormality are very low, and really driven based on the patient's medical history. We usually defer qualifying a handful a kids a year until their primary care provider can examine them and we usually pick up a handful of kids a year who do not have a primary care provider at all.
A medical student was with me yesterday as our crew screened over 110 kids and he commented to me how surprised he was that the kids appeared to be so healthy. With that statement he had walked right into the teaching point from this event. Kids who participate in sports engage in few high risk activities--smoking, drugs, alcohol, sex--than those who do not. Clearing and encouraging as many of the students as possibly to participate in school athletics is the greatest thing we can do for their health.