Sudden Cardiac Death In Young Athletes

“I received a question via iPhone App from a mother who was concerned about the recent discussions in both the media and in the medical community surrounding sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young athletes.

Each year between 10–12 million kids in the U.S. participate in sports.  The tragedy of a sudden death in an otherwise  “presumably healthy” child causes not only sadness, but concern as to how the death might have been prevented. Doctors are often asked, “isn’t there a test or something to prevent this? “.

Depending on the studies I have read, the sudden cardiac death of a child or adolescent accounts for about 100 deaths a year in the U.S.  The prevalence rate for sudden cardiac death is 1:100,000- 200,000 and is higher among males than females.  Statistics show that 90% of these sudden deaths occur immediately post training or competition with football and basketball having the highest incidence.

via Sudden Cardiac Death In Young Athletes | The Kid’s Doctor: Your Partner in Parenting.”

This is such a sad event…a young athlete dying at a game or practice.

I have read too many of these stories over the past few years and am wondering why there is no heart screening for athletes.

Well, it seems that money is the problem…since this happens to a very small number of student athletes it is not cost effective to require an EKG or cardiac ultrasound as a medical clearance to participation in competitive sports, which could possibly detect a heart abnormality.

This is a sad but true fact and even though these tests could prevent a “sudden death”I believe they will not be required any time soon.

So it seems that it is up to parents to protect their children and provide these screenings at their own expense.

If you are interested in this problematic issue go to and get up to date information about what is being done about creating solutions for this tragic situation.