Cardiac Screening

October 31, 2014

The American Heart Association has once again concluded that sophisticated and expensive heart screening is not practical or appropriate as a precondition for youth and young adults to participate in competitive organized sports.
On Sept. 14, 2014, the AHA online publication Circulation stated:

Sudden death among 12 to 25-year-olds is “a low event rate occurrence.”

“There is insufficient information to support the view that ECGs in asymptomatic young people for cardiac disease is appropriate or possible on a national basis for the United States, in competitive athletics or in the general population.”

“At present, there is no mechanism available in the United States to effectively create national programs of such magnitude, whether limited to athletics or including the wider population of all young people.”

“There is insufficient evidence that particularly large-scale/mass screening initiatives are feasible or cost effective within the current US healthcare infrastructure . . .”

“The ECG . . . cannot be regarded as an ideal or effective test when applied to large healthy populations.”

“An additional, but unresolved, ethical issue concerns whether students who voluntarily engage in competitive athletic programs should have advantage of cardiovascular screening, while others who choose not to be involved in such activities (but may be at the same or similar risk) are in effect excluded from the same opportunity.”

The AHA’s Sept. 14 AHA writing group “does not believe the available data support significant public health benefit from using the 12-lead ECG as a universal screening tool. The writing group, however, does endorse the widespread dissemination of automated external defibrillators which are effective in saving young lives on the athletic field and elsewhere.”

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.