Health Issues

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Fitness for Sports &
Life Activities of Young Athletes

The Undetected Medical Condition
        No can assume that their child does not have a medical condition because there aren't obvious signs that something might be wrong.  The following are possible conditions that can be detected with a full physical prior to them participating in sports or strenuous recreational activities.

        Generally vision, hearing, balance problems, episodes of difficulty breathing, allergic relations, etc. are easily detected and there are treatments to treat the problems. However, there are some problems that are not readily apparent unless a family physician conducts a full physical and, if necessary, recommend a consult with a specialist. The following are examples of common problem that may go undetected unless the conditions escalates or is detectable in a complete physical.

Scoliosis - an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine away from the midline. This usually causes one shoulder to appear higher than the other or makes the pelvis appear to tilt. In addition to the side-to-side curving, there may also be some rotation of the spine. This rotation, when present, may make your waist or shoulders look uneven. A variation of scoliosis, called kyphoscoliosis, may also involve abnormal front-to-back curvature.

Undetected Cardiac Arrhythmia Syndromes (CAS) - Each child may exhibit different combinations of the following symptoms of arrhythmia. 
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • palpitations
  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • fainting

The symptoms of arrhythmias may resemble other medical conditions or heart problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Atrial Septal Defect - Atrial and ventricular septal defects are the most common congenital heart defects that go undetected into adulthood.

Mood Disorders Going Undetected in U.S. Children – Health OMG! - May 24, 2011 Mood Disorders Going Undetected in U.S. Children ... If left untreated, childhood anxiety and depression can grow into even more serious problems.

Leukemia - The most common form of childhood cancer and it generally can affect almost any child anywhere. There are some suspected risk factors, but all in all no one can predict which child will and which child will not get leukemia.

Screening Athletes For Heart Conditions  May 3, 2012  The death of young athletes from undetected heart problems often fuels the debate on the common cause of sudden cardiac death among youth athletes. Ask your child's doctor to use the latest pre-participation physical.

Common Disorders - Division of Pediatric Orthopedics  If Development Dysplasia Hip (DDH) goes undetected, a child may end up with an unstable joint in late childhood or as an adult. There are usually no major symptoms of DDH, because it is often detected in infants soon after birth and treated without complications. However, in some instances the condition may be first identified in older infants through several cardinal signs, such as a difference in the length of the two legs or difficulty moving the leg away from the body on one side. DDH is usually diagnosed by a simple physical exam,

Osteoporosis and Arthritis: Two Common but Different Conditions - Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture.  It can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and change in one’s posture. Osteoporosis can impair a person’s ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability. The condition can remain undetected for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. - Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. Joints are places in the body where bones come together, such as the knees, wrists, fingers, toes, and hips. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sudden death of a young athletes
        Sudden death of a young athlete during competition is a tragic yet rare occurrence that results in significant public and media attention. Increased catecholamine response to maximum stress in subjects with underlying structural heart disease is a well-known cause of lethal cardiac arrhythmias. 
        In 1996, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement advocating universal cardiovascular preparticipation screening for high school and college athletes in an attempt to identify those at increased risk of cardiovascular events. The recommendations included a 12-point complete history and physical examination (including brachial artery blood pressure measurement) before competitive sports (Table 1) and reserved noninvasive testing such as a 12-lead ECG, echocardiogram, exercise testing, and cardiovascular consultation for athletes in whom any abnormality was detected.  Table  2. Sudden Cardiovascular Death in Sports for All Participants at the Beginning of Competitive Activities Until 35 Years of Age.

Health Considerations

        Parents should inform doctors and coaches of possible problems because of a family history. Make life easy for physicians and high school officials by actuarially having a document of the medical history of both parents and the child.  The helps physicians and high school officials to asking the right questions that can prevent unexpected strategies at practices and competitions.

        It is undisputed that a high percentage of athletes at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can be identified or suspected from a screening ECG.  The most common cause of heart problems in the United States is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is reliably identified by an ECG.  The ECG test is not perfect, it is intended only as the first test in the screening process. There are other conditions - coronary artery anomalies or catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia - that cannot be identified by the currently American Heart Association (AHA) 12-element system recommended screening.

       The decision to spend money on preventing, a limited number of potentially avoidable deaths in adolescents and young adults, is a priority determination that belongs in the hands of the parents and the school/parents health insurance policies.

       It is difficult to bringing the subject up on the child not being allowed to play a sport because of a heart condition that had previously be detected.

       The American Heart Association (AHA) issued guidelines aimed at helping doctors and coaches detect these problems early on and prevent such senseless deaths.

       The AHA's screening guidelines call for eight specific medical history questions and four key elements in a physical exam, all designed to help doctors understand whether an athlete is at risk. Specifically, doctors need to ask athletes about chest pain during exercise, unexplained fainting and their family history of heart disease or early death before clearing them to play.

Screening for Heart Abnormalities in Student Athletes
       The American Heart Association (AHA) indicates that exact incidence of athletic deaths is not known, but it is considered to be a rare occurrence. The  The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that sudden deaths occur in the range of 1:200,000 young people of high school age per year. The American Heart Association has published guidelines to help physicians.

12-step screening may help reduce sudden death in young athletes  American Heart Association scientific statement. March 12, 2007. Dallas, March 12, 2007 – A 12-point screening process could help reduce sudden cardiac Arrest.

Diseases and Injuries
         Many of the childhood illnesses and physical problems can be quickly diagnosed and treated. The following is a partial list of health concerns that children and young adults experience that continue to be issues that need to be addressed as we age:

  • Visual - symptoms, treatment - glasses or contact lens
  • Hearing - symptoms, treatment - hearing aid
  • Asthma - symptoms, treatment/medication, monitoring
  • Allergies - symptoms, treatment/medication, monitoring
  • Diabetes - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, diet, monitoring
  • Addiction
    • Alcohol Abuse use - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, monitoring
    • Early Diagnoses use - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, monitoring
    • Drug abuse of prescription and illegal medications - symptoms, treatment/counseling, monitoring
  • Eating Disorders
    • Bulimia - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, diet, monitoring
    • Anorexia - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, diet, monitoring
  • Personality Issues
    • Stress - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, monitoring
    • Anxiety - symptoms, treatment/medication, counseling, monitoring
    • Self-Esteem problems - symptoms, treatment/counseling, monitoring
The information on this site is provided to support skater's efforts to
achieve their full potential in the pursuit of his/her skating goals, and to transfer
those skills to their future education, career, and other life activities.

  Suggestions and comments from rink management, coaches,
  choreographers, judges, skaters, and parents are welcomed. 

Recommended Reading:

Health, Fitness, & Wellness Services

Feeding Your Child Athlete Nutritional Needs of Young Athletes; Drink Up! Pressures Facing Athletes; Game Day ... Eating for sports should be an extension of healthy eating for life. ... Similar performance issues can come up when kids try to increase their weight too fast.

PDF health concerns book 4.qxd series to promote the awareness of health issues related to ... Health Concerns For Young Athletes.

Protecting the health and safety of young athletes | Healing ... May 14, 2010 ... Many more young athletes would be screened for life threatening or disabling medical problems, if experts who spoke out today prevail,

Health & Injury Concerns

Health and Injury Issues

Pediatric Health and Injury Issues

PDF Athletes: Fit But Unhealthy How do we prevent a seemingly healthy and young athlete from dropping dead when some problem causes the heart to stop, a blood vessel clogs or some other pathology causes death?

Too Few Doctors Screen Young Athletes for Hidden Health Problems  In response, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued guidelines aimed at ... of the life-saving guidelines -- potentially leaving many young athletes at risk. ... One main cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle becomes thickened. There are other causes as well, including potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Fitness Training Plans
Fitness Exercises
Fitness Components For All Ages
Exercise Programs
Firehouse Fitness
Benefits of General Physical Preparedness
Fitness for Sports & Life Activities
Fitness Program Components
PDF  Sports Medicine Links

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