Student-athletes in Florida will no longer be asked about their menstrual histories before they can play high school sports.
Following opposition from parents, physicians and advocates, The Associated Press reports that the Florida High School Athletic Association’s board of directors had an emergency meeting on Thursday to adopt a proposal, which would remove questions about female athletes’ menstrual history from the state’s pre-participation physical evaluation form.
It was previously optional to answer the questions. However, a recent recommendation by an association advisory committee to make it mandatory sparked a major backlash.
In the AP report, people called the inquiries “humiliating” and “invasive,” and others said they were related to a law that prevents transgender girls and women from playing on teams meant for student-athletes born female.
In the updated form, the athletic association added a field where students will however be asked to list their “sex at birth.”
The medical advisory committee of the association, which recommended to the board that menstrual histories be required on the form, stated that it was adhering to national guidelines for sports physicals developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations.
The guidelines state, according to the AP, that “menstrual history is an “essential discussion for female athletes” because period abnormalities could be a sign of “low energy availability, pregnancy, or other gynecologic or medical conditions.”
The earlier Florida proposal, according to the chair-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness, was not in compliance with the academy’s rules because the academy only suggests sending a medical eligibility form to the school, not personal medical information.
Questions about family medical history, alcohol and drug use, and mental health will still be included on the board’s four-page form. But that information will remain in the office of the medical professionals who perform the students’ medical examinations. Only the page stating a student’s medical eligibility will be sent to the school.