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Madden Legislation Modernizing Pre-Participation Physical For Student Athletes Clears Committee

Would Ensure Exams For All Student Athletes Grades 6-12

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred Madden (D – Gloucester, Camden) that would update the pre-participation history and physical examination form for student athletes and modernize various aspects of the pre-participation physical exam has cleared the Senate Education Committee.

“When it comes to the health and well being of our children you can never be too cautious,” said Madden. “This legislation, along with several other measures I have sponsored, will shine new light on the issue of heart disease in our young people. Implementing these measures will help to prevent future tragedies.”

Currently, all public school students in grades 6 through 12 must undergo a medical examination prior to participation on a school-sponsored interscholastic or intramural athletic team or squad. The bill, S1912, would require this exam for students in both public and nonpublic schools who participate in athletics.

In addition, the legislation would: require schools to use the “Pre-participation Physical Evaluation” form developed by 6 major American medical societies; ensure all healthcare professionals who conduct pre-participation histories and physical examinations of student athletes are properly licensed; ensure these same individuals participate in the appropriate continuing education courses; and that all student athletes and their parents or guardians certify that they have read and reviewed the “Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes” pamphlet.

The measure is just one of a series of bills Senator Madden has sponsored that came from recommendations made by the New Jersey Student Athlete Cardiac Screening Task Force, which officially issued its report earlier in the year on how to prevent sudden cardiac death in student athletes between the ages of 12 and 19. Additional legislation he has sponsored include: S1910, which would require certain health insurers to cover the cost of annual physical examinations for student athletes; the “Children’s Sudden Cardiac Events Reporting Act,” S-1911, which would require the reporting of children’s sudden cardiac events and establish a statewide database to keep track of such information.

In 2009, the Legislature responded to growing concern over a growing number of sudden deaths in student athletes by passing Senator Madden’s legislation establishing the task force. The task force was given the responsibility of studying, evaluating and developing recommendations relating to specific actionable measures to enhance screening of student athletes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other life-threatening cardiac conditions.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

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