Sudden cardiac death in young athletes is a rare and tragic occurrence. A preparticipation physical examination (PPE) is widely used to identify athletes who might be at risk of sudden cardiac death. High school athletes in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties in Florida undergo annual sports physicals through a local sports medicine outreach program. A resting electrocardiogram (ECG) was implemented during the 2022 PPE. The aim of this study was to document the efficacy of implementing ECGs and to highlight the cardiac abnormalities identified in young athletes as part of a 1-d PPE.


In total, 1,357 high school athletes (males = 879 and females = 478; age, 15.1 ± 1.3 years) completed a resting 12-lead ECG. These were interpreted by cardiologists using the International Criteria, with abnormal results being further investigated before final sports clearance. Descriptive statistics regarding ECG findings were analyzed.


Twenty-three ECGs (1.7%) were classified as “abnormal” and were referred for further testing. Of these, 14 athletes were cleared to participate in sports, and 6 declined further evaluation. Three athletes, all males, were not cleared for sports participation. Of these, 2 athletes presented with Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome (0.15%), and 1 athlete (0.10%) presented with dilated cardiomyopathy.


Adding ECG screening as part of a single-day PPE can be used as a tool in identifying cardiac abnormalities among young athletes. To our knowledge, this is the highest number of athletes screened during a PPE in 1 d nationwide.

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