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Normative SF-36 Values in Competing NCAA Intercollegiate Athletes Differ from Values in the General Population
G. Russell Huffman, MD, MPH1; Jung Park, BS1; Chris Roser-Jones, BS1; Brian J. Sennett, MD1; Gautum Yagnik, MD1; David Webner, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (G.R.H., B.J.S., G.Y., and D.W.), Penn Sports Medicine Center, and School of Medicine (J.P. and C.R.-J.), University of Pennsylvania, 235 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail address for G.R. Huffman: Russell.huffman@uphs.upenn.edu
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
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Investigation performed at Penn Sports Medicine Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2008 Mar 01;90(3):471-476. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.00325
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Background: The Short Form-36 (SF-36) is a valid and reliable generic indicator of health status. The scoring distributions for the general and specific populations have been extensively reported in the literature and vary according to age, gender, the type and severity of a medical condition, and socioeconomic status. However, normative data pertaining specifically to athletic populations are limited. The purpose of the present study was to establish SF-36 reference norms for athletes cleared for participation in intercollegiate sports.

Methods: Six hundred and ninety-six United States National Collegiate Athletic Association Division-I and II student athletes who had been cleared for participation in intercollegiate sports completed the self-administered form of the SF-36 at the time of pre-participation evaluations. Demographic information and history of injuries were also recorded.

Results: Compared with the general population and an age-matched sample of the general population, the athletes scored significantly higher in all health domains (p < 0.01) except for bodily pain (p = 0.05). Among the athletes, men scored significantly higher than women in the general health domain only (p = 0.0006). Athletes with no reported history of injury scored significantly higher than those with previous injuries in all health domains, except in role limitations due to emotional problems.

Conclusions: Intercollegiate athletes cleared for participation reported significantly higher SF-36 scores in comparison with a similarly aged sample of the general population. These normative values are important in the evaluation of health status of intercollegiate athletes before and after intervention.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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