Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Legal responsibilities of physicians when making participation decisions in athletes with cardiac disorders: Do guidelines provide a solid legal footing?
  1. Nicole M Panhuyzen-Goedkoop1,2,
  2. Joep L R M Smeets1
  1. 1Heart Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Sports Cardiology, Sports Medical Centre Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicole M Panhuyzen-Goedkoop, Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen, 670 Cardiology, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands; nicolepanhuyzen{at}


Safe sports participation involves protecting athletes from injury and life-threatening situations. Preparticipation cardiovascular screening (PPS) in athletes is intended to prevent exercise-related sudden cardiac death by medical management of athletes at risk, which may include disqualification from sports participation. The screening physician relies on current guidelines and expert recommendations for management and decision-making. There is concern about false-positive screening results and wrongly grounding an athlete. Similarly, there is a concern about false-negative screening results and athletes participating with potentially lethal disorders. Who is legally responsible if an athlete suddenly dies after a proper PPS resulting in low risk? Several consensus documents based on expert opinion describe only a few lines on legal responsibilities in eligibility screening and disqualification decision-making in athletes. This article discusses legal responsibilities and concerns in eligibility decision-making for physicians.

  • Sports Analysis in Different Types of Sports
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiology Prevention
  • Exercise
  • Athletics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.