cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes during sports.
That’s why it is especially important for athletes to undergo a comprehensive
pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) for heart conditions and health
risks that may place participants at higher risk of injury, illness and or
life-threatening conditions. The study, “State-Specific Differences in School Sports Preparticipation Physical Evaluation Policies
,” appearing in the January
2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online Dec. 22), examined the current PPE
policies in all 50 states plus Washington, DC. The requirements for PPE use and
content of the evaluations vary and are determined by each state individually.
While 98 percent of states require a PPE before sports participation, 53
percent of them were using outdated or generic PPE forms at the time of the
study. The newer or more specific forms include family and cardiac history for
the athlete. Including these components in addition to a physical exam can help
increase detection of rare cardiac abnormalities that can lead to sudden death
in athletes. To ensure comprehensive and consistent screenings, the authors
conclude that there is a need for a nationwide standardized PPE form,
preferably in an electronic format.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.