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Variation by State: Pre-participation Physical Evaluation Forms for Student Athletes

December 22, 2022

Screening for sudden cardiac death in young athletes is an important pre-season activity. While the best way to screen has been debated for years, the American Heart Association recommends 14 screening elements for pre-participation physical examination (PPE) of any youth planning to play a high school sport. How often are all 14 points included on state-specific standardized PPE? Blank et al (10.1542/peds.2022-056798) analyzed the PPE forms from public websites of high school athletic governing bodies in each state. Of the 48 states with PPE forms, only 13 (27%) included all 14 elements (median 11 elements; range 3-14 elements). The 3 most common elements were about the presence of femoral pulses, family history of inherited heart disease, and history of hypertension.

The authors not only discuss the variation in PPE forms by state but review the evolution of the PPE, and the controversies surrounding the effectiveness of the forms in preventing sudden cardiac death. What is included on your state form?  Should you advocate for updating it to include all 14 elements?  Link to this article to see where your state stands on the content of its PPE forms.

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