Working to Ensure the health of our student athletes
Athlete at Heart is a free sports-specific health screening and educational program for high school and middle school student-athletes. The screenings include a review of the athlete’s medical history, a sports-specific medical and musculoskeletal exam, a heart exam, and a vision test.
The program is unique because of the heart screening, where all student-athletes receive an electrocardiogram (ECG), which traces the heart’s electrical activity. If abnormalities are discovered in the athlete's medical history or in the results of the physical examination or ECG, an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) may be performed. A follow-up appointment may also be scheduled. A heart screening is performed to increase the chance of detecting a heart problem that could affect an athlete’s ability to participate in sports safely. Traditional sports screenings may not detect these heart abnormalities. However, no screening program is designed to detect every abnormal condition. It is also important to note that this program is not intended to replace an athlete's yearly well child exam.
Athlete at Heart aims to:
- Meet the criteria needed to play sports in NC.
- Educate student-athletes and parents about injury prevention, conditioning, and appropriate training techniques to prevent injury.
- Provide those at-risk student-athletes with an early-intervention treatment plan.
- Ensure that previous injuries have been treated properly.
- Discuss referral options recommended for further evaluation and provide resources to establish a primary care physician.
- Provide a data-driven research component to improve health outcomes for student-athletes that can be shared with and replicated by other medical providers and school systems.