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NASN Sch Nurse. 2012 Nov;27(6):318-22.

Understanding sports preparticipation cardiovascular screening recommendations.

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  • 1Saint Louis University, MO, USA.


School nurses have the responsibility of maintaining the medical files of middle- and high-school athletes. This includes collecting and monitoring the sports preparticipation physical exam. Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes and, therefore, is one of the primary reasons that competitive athletes undergo sports preparticipation physical exams. Although there is no governing body that has established mandates regarding the nature and scope of this physical exam, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommendations for cardiovascular screening for competitive athletes. However, these recommendations are not always included on the preparticipation physical exam form and it is not always clear if the health care provider completing the form screened the athlete using these recommendations. Therefore, it is important that school nurses not only be knowledgeable of the AHA recommendations but also consider advocating for their school districts to include these recommendations on the physical exam form if they are not currently.

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