It's time for sports physicals, and some parents might be wondering what these exams entail and why they're important. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, also known as Seattle Mama Doc, joined KING 5 to talk about sports physicals and how families can improve screening for their young athletes.

Other questions Dr. Swanson addressed include:

  • How common is sudden cardiac death in young athletes? Who is at the highest risk?
  • How do you screen children for sudden cardiac death?At what age should families start having their children screened?
  • What is happening in Washington state to protect children?
  • How can parents better advocate for their own children to protect them and understand risks?

Facts about sudden cardiac death

  • Rare but tends to run in families
  • Most common between the ages of 17 and 23
  • 90 percent of cases occur during or after exercise
  • Often cardiomyopathies or arrhythmias can be the cause

Screening children for sudden cardiac death

  • American Heart Assoication 12-question approach
  • 4 exercise, 4 family history, 4 physical exam
  • Describe how your child feels during exercise
  • Full physical exam including blood pressure
  • Sometimes an EKG or echocardiogram

What parents need to know

  • Learn about your family history -- early heart disease or drowning?
  • Make sure an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is in your school
  • Learn hands-only CPR
  • Print out pre-participation sports form


More about Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson:Facebook | Twitter:@ | Read Her Blog

Read or Share this story: