Menstrual history could be required for high school sports in Florida

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:38 AM MST
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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (WPLG) - Some controversy is brewing in Florida high schools where officials are looking into a change that would require high school girls who play sports to tell school officials about their menstrual cycles.

A proposed change to Florida’s preparticipation physical evaluation form would mandate high school girls statewide to answer medical questions about their menstrual cycles.

Currently, answering the questions is optional.

“None of this, in my view, is important for the athletic department, for the coach or the state organization to have that information, and also, I think goes beyond what HIPAA would normally allow,” said Dr. Tommy Shechtman, a pediatrician and past president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A physical examination for student-athletes is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but the national form states in bold letters, “This form should be placed into the athlete’s medical file and should not be shared with schools or sports organizations.”

“Certainly menstrual cycles can reflect other issues going on, but clearly, that’s something to be discussed between the patient, parent and the physician,” Shechtman said.

Per state statute, the Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing nonprofit organization of athletics at Florida public schools.

Of the 16 board members, just four are women.

One seat is given to the state’s education commissioner, and his office appoints three others to this board.

There is not word yet from the Florida High School Athletic Association on this proposed change.