The International Olympic Committee agrees and promotes the use of ECGs as a part of pre-participation screening as well. Some European countries, such as Italy, also observe very strict pre-participation screening protocols. Even in the United States, some philanthropic organizations such as the Championship Hearts Foundation promote a more vigorous screening for HCM for student athletes and offer free ECG screenings for student athletes in their community.
While death from HCM is rare, the disease itself is not that uncommon, affecting one out of every 500 persons. Since HCM is a genetic disorder, anyone with a family history of HCM should be screened prior to participation in competitive sports. While HCM is typically asymptomatic, in rare instances persons may exhibit the following symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, fainting, dizziness, and chest pain. Student athletes who present any of these symptoms, particularly during exercise or exertion, should be evaluated for HCM.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, The Mayo Clinic, 25 Mar 2009, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy/DS00948
Lisa Salberg, Athletic Preparticipation Screening Guidelines, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, 26 Feb 2009, http://www.4hcm.org/hcm/diagnosis/40255.html
Sudden cardiac death remains rare in young athletes, 16 Feb 2009, American Heart Association, http://www.newsroom.heart.org/index.php?s=43&item=673
Young Athletes Heart Screening Program, Championship Hearts Foundation, 2010, http://www.championshipheartsfoundation.org/screening-program-story (Note: **Championship Hearts Foundation was formerly known as the Austin Heart Foundation. CHF is a philanthropic activity of the Austin Heart cardiology group.
Lisa Salberg, What Symptoms Does Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Cause?, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, 06 Jan 2009, http://www.4hcm.org/hcm/symptoms/3055.html