Peyton's Law

Sports Physicals and Electrocardiogram Testing

Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to request, at your expense, an electrocardiogram (EKG) for your child as part of a sports-related physical examination.  Patient First does not provide EKG testing as part of sports-related physical examinations, in part because review and interpretation of the EKG under these circumstances is best performed by a cardiologist.

If you would like for your child to receive EKG testing as part of a sports-related physical examination, please inform your Patient First provider and we will be happy to arrange a referral to a cardiologist. 

Pennsylvania law requires schools to notify parents of their right to request an EKG as part of a physical examination to clear a student athlete to participate in youth or scholastic sports or other organized athletic activity (often referred to as a “Sports Physical”).  The goal of EKG testing, under these circumstances, is to identify risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest. 

You may have received information from your child’s school or sports league regarding EKG testing.  The remainder of this page provides information regarding such testing and the manner in which you may request it for your child.   

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops functioning. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, causing loss of consciousness or seizure-like activity in seconds. If not treated immediately, SCA results in death. The normal rhythm of the heart can sometimes be restored with defibrillation, an electrical shock that is delivered to the chest by an external defibrillator.

Although SCA occurs unexpectedly, some people experience warning signs or symptoms, such as:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness during exercise;
  • Fainting/passing out during or after exercise;
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing with exercise (not asthma related);
  • Racing, skipped beats or fluttering heartbeat (palpitations) at any time;
  • Fatigue (extreme or recent onset of tiredness);
  • Weakness; and/or
  • Chest pains/pressure or tightness during or after exercise.

If your child has experienced any of the above warning signs during or after exercise, you should discuss them with your Patient First provider. 

An EKG is a noninvasive test that measures and records a moment in time of the heart's electrical activity.  An EKG provides information about the structure, function, rate and rhythm of the heart.  Adding an EKG to your child’s Sports Physical may identify the need for further testing and/or help identify heart conditions that can lead to SCA.

If you would like further information on SCA and EKG testing, the Pennsylvania Department of Health makes information available at: