Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Sports Preparticipation Exam an Important Part of Back-to-School Time for Student Athletes.


The sudden or premature death of a close or distant relative due to heart disease should be reported to your physician -- especially if the relative was younger than 50, says the AHA. Additional red flags to be brought to your physician's attention are heart murmur, high blood pressure, tiring easily, a history of fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain upon exertion.

Other conditions that should be reported are palpitations, or irregular heartbeats, during or after exercise. If you know the student has high cholesterol levels, has had a recent viral illness, or has ever been restricted from participation in sports for heart reasons before, you should also mention this to your physician.

The authors recommend that athletes be encouraged to report recent legal and illegal drug use -- which includes alcohol and tobacco -- and eating disorders. These may be more difficult to elicit from the student, but they are very important.

Christopher C. Erickson, MD, tells WebMD that changes in tolerance to physical activity and change in general health should also be noted. Erickson is an associate professor of pediatric electrophysiology and pacing at the University of Arkansas/Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

Strasburger adds that the AHA recommends that the PPE be performed by a licensed physician, and the exam should be done in a quiet room with enough time for the physician to get a thorough family history of health problems. The physician should take the student's blood pressure and listen to the heart while the student is standing and seated.

If sudden cardiac death is such a real (if rare) possibility, should all potential athletes be given more extensive cardiac exams such as ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, or heart stress tests?

No, says Strasburger. Some countries do this for their student athletes, but there are often many false positive results. Also, no scientific studies have shown that more testing would necessarily yield better results.

Erickson also reminds parents that, along with the heart history, students participating in sports should also have a complete orthopaedic evaluation to make sure they are physically capable of performing their chosen athletic activity. Student athletes should have a physical exam every year.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration