In 1984, Flo Hyman led the USA women’s volleyball team to the Olympic gold medal. She was a head taller than her teammates and continued to play volleyball after the Olympic Games. In February 1985 she met her untimely death while competing. Her image on the cover of Sports Illustrated pointed out to many of us the dangers of sports participation for patients who have Marfan syndrome (previously undiagnosed in Ms. Hyman). Almost annually, a young athlete, usually playing basketball, collapses during competition or practice and dies from aortic rupture. The majority of tall individuals, of course, do not have Marfan syndrome. The purpose of this article is to discuss the differential diagnosis of tall stature and briefly review the restrictions and therapy pertinent to patients who have Marfan syndrome.

An individual is “tall” if he or she is greater than 2.5 standard deviations above the mean for age and...

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