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Sports Physicals Aren’t a Magic Bullet for Saving Teen Athletes’ Lives

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It is always a tragedy when a young athlete dies while playing their sport due to an undiagnosed ailment. Unfortunately, a new study casts doubt on the idea that these deaths can all be prevented by mandatory sports physicals and testing.

Researchers in Minnesota consulted the U.S. National Registry of Sudden Death in Young Athletes which compiles the details 2,588 sports-related teenage deaths. They found 44 instances of teenagers who were found to have aortic stenosis or other aortic disorders, birth defects that carry risk of sudden death with rigorous exercise.

Of these, 32 had undergone sports physicals and been tested and were still cleared to play by a doctor. This suggests that despite good intentions, not all deaths can be prevented by easily accessible tests like an EKG. This is not to say that they are useless, but that they are certainly not foolproof.

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ABC News Radio