Mandatory preparticipation cardiac screening is not performed on a national basis here in the United States, although the major professional sports leagues do use electrocardiograms as part of the physicals. The arguments for and against mandatory screening are complex, and there are experts who feel strongly on both sides of the issue. Some teams, leagues and school districts have turned to other options to screen kids who could be at risk for sudden cardiac death.
To better understand this issue and discuss options for screening young athletes, I reached out to Carrie Boan. She is an adult and pediatric physical therapist in Aiken, South Carolina, as well as a youth sports performance coach and Wimbledon Athletics Secondary School Cardiac Consultant.
Among the topics we cover in this interview:
• The value of electrocardiograms (ECG) and echocardiograms
• The possibility that young athletes have symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath despite having a cardiac condition
• Private organizations and nonprofit firms and what they can offer schools for cardiac screening
• What parents can do to have their children screen for underlying cardiac conditions