OSSAA updates physical evaluation form, asks female athletes intimate details about their monthly cycles

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has updated the high school sports pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) form. It’s raising eyebrows after they added new questions asking girls intimate details about their monthly cycles.

OSSAA officials told News 4 the decision to update this form comes after they discovered “Oklahoma was 2 versions behind most of the country in our PPE.”

However, some parents are wondering who is receiving this information and how it will be used.

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“We really need information from these forms for very practical good purposes. The problem is this obsession with genitalia from people… It’s created a climate of fear about sharing information because parents and guardians have to be worried about their child’s right to bodily autonomy and personal privacy,” said Rev. Lori Walke, minister at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

New questions added to the OSSAA PPE form includes new questions targeted at high school woman athletes. It asks questions about their menstrual periods.

Those questions include:

  • Have you ever had a menstrual period?

  • How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?

  • When was your most recent menstrual period?

  • How many periods have you had in the last month?

Reverend Lori Walke, who is former OSU woman’s basketball player, says she supports the medical value in the questions but says parents have a right to question all the motivations for including them in the updated form.

“These are really important questions because they give medical professionals a little bit of insight or a little bit of a baseline so that they can equip coaches and physical trainers to spot things before they spiral out of control… The issue is not the form. The issue is that this climate of fear that has been created around our bodies and about our reproductive health is preventing people from being able to trust that this information is safe and will not be used against their child,” said Rev. Walke.

Reverend Walke says she knows of some Oklahoma high school parents who have concerns.

“The parents are asking me. Five minutes before this, I got a text about these forms… As I mentioned before, there are practical reasons, but I also say that they have the right to be concerned about some of them,” said Rev. Walke.

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An OSSAA official sent us this statement saying, “The OSSAA does not use the information in any way, it is intended for the school’s medical professional only, our intention is only to provide a tool to help understand any underlying issue and to minimize risk.”

They also say a female student’s period relates to a health condition called the female triad where eating disorders, missed periods and weak bones are all early and related health warnings.

“If they’re uncomfortable answering some of those questions, don’t,” said Rev. Walke.

OSSAA officials add, “If a school or parent/guardian is uncomfortable with the new history form, the old one can be used, the school has that discretion.”

“The current climate has them afraid to engage with administration because they are worried that that information that they hand over will put their child at risk. And this is a really unfortunate unintended consequence of cultivating panic around other people’s genitalia. It has to stop,” said Rev. Walke.

Jerry Ramsey, sports radio personality with The Franchise weighed in on the topic.

“It’s definitely part of some sort of agenda, like I said, to absolutely stay solid to boys play boys sports, and girls play girls. And I know that a lot of our lawmakers and a lot of our leaders, that’s a very important subject to them. And so, you know, their constituents probably think it’s important. I just think it was a little short sighted on how they executed it,” said Jerry Ramsey, sports radio personality with The Franchise.

Officials with the OSSAA told News 4 the questions regarding menstruation were approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We did find those questions on the medical history form the organization has posted on its website.

News 4 found these questions are also on forms in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas’s athletic association’s websites as well. 

You can read the full statement from the OSSAA below:  

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) works with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to create a standard history form for students participating in activities across the country.  

 With the ongoing mental health crisis in schools, the AAP felt it necessary to ask some questions regarding mental health to try to alert medical professionals that intervention may be needed, or at least create an awareness that a child may be suffering silently. It offers a discrete way to communicate if a student is feeling a particular way. On the old form, it just asked the general question “are you feeling stressed out.”  That was determined to be a bit too vague. As far as tobacco use, it is a general question asked by physicians during an exam, and can aid in determining symptoms of other issues. 

As for the female only section, those questions are imperative to the female triad, it could be argued I guess that the male triad with the attention the issue is getting at the national level, there could be a section for that as well.   

The OSSAA does consult a local medical team for advice, however the PPE is written by a designated team of doctors from throughout the country, those doctors specialize in pediatrics, and sports medicine.  The team includes ATC’s from across the country as well.  We discovered Oklahoma was 2 versions behind most of the country in our PPE, so in an effort to make sure we are providing a good, relevant tool our team consulted with the NFHS team as well as our local group to put out what we felt like is in the best interest of the students. What the OSSAA has published is the AAP approved PPE. The OSSAA did not create any questions for the history form or the exam form. 

While we were considering the updates to our history form, we consulted the national level sports medicine advisory, as well as our local sports medicine advisory. We also compared with states surrounding us, and throughout the country.   State associations are a bit wide and varied in how they administrate things, but I think a quick search of websites in our surrounding area would reveal that we’re all using the same history portion that was approved.    

The OSSAA does not use the information in any way, it is intended for the school’s medical professional only, our intention is only to provide a tool to help understand any underlying issue and to minimize risk.   

If a school or parent/guardian is uncomfortable with the new history form, the old one can be used, the school has that discretion. 

To provide a bit of clarification; this inquiry seems to be comparing the history form (pages 2-3 of the form on the OSSAA website) to the actual examination form (page 4). Those are two different things. The history form is similar to what you fill out in a doctor’s office while you’re waiting in the lobby, the actual examination form is more of what the doctor would record on seeing a patient in an examination room. 

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