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Internet Survey: Health Screening in Sports

There are many screening protocols for participants during sports events, triggered by fatal instances of sudden cardiac arrest. To assess community awareness of health screening as related to sports competitions, we have created an internet questionnaire (QN). The survey was posted through social media (e.g. Facebook, Reddit, Flotrack and Active), for 11 months, that queried sports history, medical history, and symptoms while playing sports. Individuals <18 years of age were excluded. Informed consent was obtained prior to access to survey. A total of 3,750 respondents (R) answered the questionnaire, 2,776 male and 974 female. Age range: 18-83 yrs, avg: 33.7±11.22 yrs, median: 31 yrs. 74.0% of R (2,775/3,750) reported having at least one of the following symptoms while playing sports: dizziness, blacking/passing out, racing heartbeat, or chest pain, and 13.5% (505/3,750) of R reported two or more. Yet of symptomatic R, 62.3% (1,730/2,775) did not report them. This underreporting was a result of “no one asking” 49.5% (857/1,730); “not answering after being asked” 28.2% (488/1,730), and “not telling the truth” 22.2% (384/1,730). Of interest, 97.1% (3,642/3,750) want a screening QN; 95.8% (3,592/3,750) want pre-screening by an MD. Prior to sports, only 22.9% (857/3,750) were required to answer a QN vs 38.0% (1,424/3,750) had a physical exam (PE); 14.9% (560/3,750) of individuals had both PE and QN. In this study, a majority of those who exhibited cardiac-like symptoms, more than half, did not report them to their MDs, RNs, coaches or trainers because no one asked. Nearly all respondents want health screening by a health questionnaire and medical doctor. While this survey is skewed towards the young and educated demographic with access to the internet, these findings can guide us towards further discussion about health screening in sports among cardiologists and primary care physicians.

Credits: Margaret Wang BA; Gloria Wu MD; Vidhya Gunasekaran MD; Victor Chen BS; Akash Vani BS

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