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March 30, 2023
The state of Florida is considering enacting a measure that would have the menstrual cycles of female high school athletes closely tracked in order for them to compete.
The Florida High School Athletic Association, a private organization that makes recommendations to the state, recently advised DeSantis’ office to require female high school athletes to share personal information about their menstrual cycles with their schools in order to qualify for competition. The FHSAA claims the information is vital to ensuring the athletes’ optimal health and identifying any possible health concerns. The athletes are currently asked to provide information about their menstrual health but the fields on the form are optional.
“We appreciate the medical necessity of the questions, including menstrual history, that are included on this form and support their inclusion on the form,” said Robert Sefcik, a member of the advisory committee to the Associated Press. The topic first made headlines late last year when the forms, which have historically been filled out by hand on paper, were migrated to a digital format, prompting concerns from parents of athletes who worried that after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade that their childrens’ personal health information was being collected and digitized by the state.
The National Institutes of Health says the information is increasingly useful in identifying possible health concerns and bodily changes in the athletes and potential risks of those health concerns if they compete. “Elements of physiology unique to females, such as fluctuating female sex hormone concentrations throughout different phases of the menstrual cycle (MC), may be an important consideration for optimizing the performance and maintaining the health of female athletes,” said NIH. These concerns include pregnancy, amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: MIAMI HERALD