p-ISSN: 1300-0551
e-ISSN: 2587-1498

Salaheddin Sharif1, Narges Elzaydi1, David Hydock2

1University of Benghazi, Physiology Department, Benghazi, Libya
2University of Northern Colorado School of Sport and Exercise Science, Greeley, Colorado, United States

Keywords: Sport cardiology, pre-participation examination, screening protocols, ECG, sudden cardiac death


Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in sport participants and may result from undiagnosed cardiac diseases. It has been universally agreed upon that pre-participation screening can identify those athletes at risk of sudden cardiac death, and yet, there is no commonly accepted protocol to screen athletes. Although the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend the routine screening of athletes to prevent sudden death, there is significant disagreement regarding the guidelines of the protocols. The American Heart Association protocol includes a detailed medical history and a physical examination, whereas the European Society of Cardiology protocol includes 12-lead electrocardiography with a detailed medical history and a physical examination. The cost benefit of using electrocardiography is debatable, particularly if the screening is used to prevent sudden death associated with uncommon diseases. The Libyan Football Federation established a new seasonal pre-competition medical assessment protocol for Libyan football athletes during the 2013-2014 season, which includes a medical history, physical examination, 12 lead electrocardiography, echocardiography, and blood test. Regardless of cost and differences in protocol, there is a significant value in pre-participation screening for athletes in order to decrease the incidence of sudden cardiac death, and this report examines some of these different protocols as well as their potential for identifying athletes at risk for sudden cardiac death.

Cite this article as: Sharif S, Elzaydi N, Hydock D Analysis of pre-participation screening protocols for football players in Europe, USA, and Libya: Possible implications for preventing sudden cardiac death. Turk J Sports Med 2017;52:63-9.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.