While it’s important that your child gets checked for hernias and other common abnormalities before hitting the playing field, a basic check-up might not be enough. Ask your the pediatrician about a more serious physical exam—it could save your kid's life.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that it pays to check for heart abnormalities in young athletes, a practice that could significantly cut the rate of exercise-related sudden cardiac death.
The researchers, working with the International Olympic Committee, tested 371 athletes between the ages of 12 and 35. While the EKG procedure did produce 47 false-positive results, the screening did rightfully spot 10 athletes who had serious heart problems (three of these athletes can no longer play sports).
The researchers cite that this ratio is acceptable within the medical field and that the practice should be implemented.
The take-home message: Before you sign your child up for little league or any other sport, have him or her checked out thoroughly by their pediatrician. It'll give you peace of mind.