Inclusion of Heart Screening in Sports Physicals

The importance of increasing the availability of heart screenings for youth is clear. 1 in 300 youths has an undetected heart condition due to a lack of heart screenings. If you want to learn more about the impact of heart disease in youth and youth heart screenings, check out one of our other recent blog posts: Nick of Time Foundation Youth Heart Screenings or Youths and Undetected Heart Conditions.

Undetected heart conditions tend to affect young athletes more frequently than those not participating in sports. Across the country, it is often recommended or even required for young athletes to get a  sports physical done in order to participate in the middle school, high school or college level. A sports physical also known as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE) generally has four main parts:

  1. A basic check of vital signs including pulse and blood pressure along with measuring weight and height.
  2. An eye exam to determine whether athlete needs prescription lenses.
  3. A review of medical history to evaluate potential problems which may arise.
  4. A fitness check involving a general physical exam of the athlete. This includes a heart screening as well as examination of lungs and abdomen in order to find any physical limitations.

Every three days a high school-aged athlete suffers a sudden cardiac arrest in the United States. If there are steps being taken to detect heart disease, why are these athletes being affected by cardiac arrest? Heart disease symptoms can develop rapidly and it is common for them not to be noticeable. By having heart screenings performed during annual sports physicals, young athletes can check-in on their heart health with enough time for action to be taken from symptom discovery.

-Davis Hoover, Alexander’s Hope Intern


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