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Br J Sports Med. 2014 Aug;48(15):1193-5. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-093023. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Legal responsibilities of physicians when making participation decisions in athletes with cardiac disorders: Do guidelines provide a solid legal footing?

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Heart Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands Department of Sports Cardiology, Sports Medical Centre Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Heart Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Safe sports participation involves protecting athletes from injury and life-threatening situations. Preparticipation cardiovascular screening (PPS) in athletes is intended to prevent exercise-related sudden cardiac death by medical management of athletes at risk, which may include disqualification from sports participation. The screening physician relies on current guidelines and expert recommendations for management and decision-making. There is concern about false-positive screening results and wrongly grounding an athlete. Similarly, there is a concern about false-negative screening results and athletes participating with potentially lethal disorders. Who is legally responsible if an athlete suddenly dies after a proper PPS resulting in low risk? Several consensus documents based on expert opinion describe only a few lines on legal responsibilities in eligibility screening and disqualification decision-making in athletes. This article discusses legal responsibilities and concerns in eligibility decision-making for physicians.


Athletics; Cardiology; Cardiology Prevention; Exercise; Sports Analysis in Different Types of Sports

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