Why Warning Signs Get Missed

The reality is that we live in a very competitive world, and kids are daily encouraged to rise to the challenge. Young people often don’t tell adults if they experience symptoms, and parents often urge their kids to play hard.

  • Athletes (and often their parents) don’t want to jeopardize their playing time, so they may avoid telling parents or coaches in hopes that the symptoms will “just go away” on their own.
  • Kids may be embarrassed they can’t keep up, thinking they’re out of shape and just need to train harder.
  • Having felt this way all their life, they may be unaware that what they are feeling indicates a potentially fatal condition.

Student athletes should know that if they experience any of the following symptoms, it is crucial to alert an adult and get follow-up care right away with an appropriate physician. Additionally, if the athlete has any of the SCA risk factors, these should also be immediately discussed with a doctor to determine if a heart screening is needed.

If you are a parent with a student athlete, download our risk assessment form to review with a doctor.

If you are a coach or sports administrator, please download our free tools and resources below.

Symptoms or Potential Indicators that Put Youth at Risk for SCA

  • fainting or seizure, especially during or right after exercise
  • fainting repeatedly or with excitement or startle
  • racing heart, palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • chest pain or discomfort with exercise
  • excessive shortness of breath during exercise
  • excessive, unexpected fatigue during or after exercise

Family Heart History and Risk Factors that Put Youth at Risk for SCA

  • family history of known heart abnormalities or sudden death before age 40
  • family members with unexplained fainting, seizures, drowning, near drowning or car accidents
  • known structural heart abnormality, repaired or unrepaired
  • personal use of diet pills, performance-enhancing supplements and energy drinks
  • use of drugs, such as cocaine, inhalants or “recreational” drugs

Get Your Tools

SCA Prevention Training Videos

Free 20-minute module to comply with state laws requiring SCA Prevention Training (downloadable certificate)

Coaches, Sports Officials and Administrators

Athletic Trainers

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)


Schools & Youth Sports Programs

Cardiac Emergency Response Plan for Schools
(Download Flyer)
(Download Toolkit)

Sports Clearance Packet Parent/Student Athlete SCA Fact Sheet to Sign

Free, digital learning program with videos and activities

SCA Law & 2019 Health Education Framework (with SCA curriculum)


At the Doctor’s Office

Cardiac Risk Assessment Form

Heart Screening Guidelines for All Youth

Free Education on ECG Interpretation in Athletes for Your Practitioner

Free, Accredited, On-Demand Training Module for Medical Practitioners

SCA Fact Sheets

SCA Law Fact Sheet with Signature Page (English and Spanish)

SCA Law Fact Sheet for Coaches, Administrators and Sports Officials

SCA Sideline Action Plan

How Educators Can Protect Young Hearts

SCA Posters

Cardiac Chain of Survival poster

SCA Warning Signs and Risk Factors poster

Cardiac Chain of Survival poster (Spanish)

SCA Warning Signs and Risk Factors poster (Spanish)

Warning Signs of SCA poster

Call Push Shock poster

Keep Your Heart in the Game
Overviews new SCA prevention protocol for sports programs.

What To Do In A Cardiac Emergency
Watch how bystander CPR and AED saves lives (also in Spanish).

You CAN Save a Life
Bystander intervention is the only way to increase the chance of survival for a Sudden Cardiac Arrest victim.

The Most Important Ask
Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Don’t Just Check the Box
Standard exams don’t check for heart conditions that put youth at risk.

Find More Videos Here

For training on how to use each brand of AED, visit Save Station.

Find more youth sports safety resources!