Legislation that’s designed to ensure the health of student athletes in New Jersey has been approved by the Assembly.

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The bill stipulates all public and private school students in grades six through 12 who want to play school-sponsored sports must have a comprehensive physical exam before they can participate.

“Playing sports offer many benefits to young people, but for a student who suffers from asthma, a heart condition or any other serious ailment, they can be dangerous. This bill puts in place several provisions to ensure the safety of our young athletes,” says one of the prime sponsors of the measure, Assemblyman Pat Diegnan.

Under the legislation, schools would have to use the Pre-participation Physical Evaluation form developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.

The bill also calls for the Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, the American Heart Association, and the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Cardiology to develop, by the 2013-2014 school year, a Student-Athlete Cardiac Screening professional development module to increase the assessment skills of those health care practitioners who perform student-athlete physical examinations and screenings.

The measure now heads to the State Senate for consideration.