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Pre-participation Sports Exam Requirements Vary State to State

Sudden 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 While 98 percent of states require a PPE before sports participation, 53 percent of them were using outdated or generic PPE forms at the time of the study.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.


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