Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TOPS to prevent SCD caused by HCM

What do SCD and HCM have in common other that just being letters of the alphabet. HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) is the leading cause of non-traumatic SCD (sudden cardiac death) in athletes. HCM is generally considered a genetic disease that involves abnormal hypertrophy of the left ventricle. What is often misunderstood is that this genetic disease may have an unknown origin. The HCMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to patients with HCM and is a good resource for information. There are 11 genes that are known to cause HCM. There are also more than 500 known mutations (defect in the DNA code) of these genes that are connected to HCM. This is why it is such a diverse disease. HCM may be a result of a de novo mutation. This means that the genetic mutation may occur spontaneously in an athlete with no family history of HCM. This video from Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO provides a good description of HCM.

In Arizona, Team of Physicians for Students (TOPS) is an organization that has a dedicated mission to help prevent sudden cardiac death from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. TOPS provides a free pre-participation physical exam (for 8th grade through community college athletes) that includes an EKG for all participants with a follow-up echocardiogram if indicated. In 2009, there were 10 athletes that were not cleared for cardiac reasons. This means that there 10 potential cardiac emergencies that were identified before a catastrophic event occurred. Nationally, the Anthony Bates Foundation has a similar mission.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

86 Percent Of Disadvantaged Preschoolers Lack Basic Motor Skills

Can we call it socioeconomic discrimination? There are many factors that lead to the creation of disadvantaged neighborhoods. Researchers at The Ohio State University suggest (86 Percent Of Disadvantaged Preschoolers Lack Basic Motor Skills) that children are not only “at risk” academically in underprivileged neighborhoods, but they may also be “at risk” physically. This study reports that 86% of the preschool participants scored below the 30th percentile labeling them developmentally delayed. The results were even more profound in object control skills (involving objects such as a ball or a bat). In object control skills females scored at the 11th percentile and males at the 22nd percentile. The preschool participants in this study are in a critical time in their physical maturation process. Any delay in development places these children at a disadvantage when competing with peers who are proficient in their locomotor skills. Exercise related injuries are caused by a training mistake. Not having the opportunity to learn the basic locomotor skills, is a mistake. A mistake that if not corrected will create injury. Organizations such as the Youth Sport Safety Alliance have been created to combat injuries in youth sports, but their effectiveness will be stymied by a class of youth athletes who have not been taught how to hop skip and jump correctly. Contrary to conventional belief (and ask any Physical Educator), locomotor skills are not naturally developed. They have to be taught and practiced. When it comes to youth and high school sport, success tends to be more prevalent in higher socioeconomic neighborhoods. In other words, “money talks”. We can call it socioeconomic discrimination if disadvantaged children are denied the opportunity to learn the basic locomotor skills involved in physical maturation.