TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — When filling out health questionnaires for athletics participation, Florida student-athletes are likely used to answering their weight, their height, if they have asthma, do they take any prescriptions that might affect performance, among other questions for participation.
A draft of a questionnaire for high school athletes from the Florida High School Athletic Association also asks students if they’ve had a menstrual period. If so, it asks when they had their first one, when their most recent menstrual period was, and how many have they had in the past 12 months.
In the current version of the survey published by FHSAA, five menstruation-focused questions are listed as optional.
The form lists the questions as “FEMALES ONLY (optional).”
During a Jan. 24 meeting of the sports medicine committee, a proposed update of the questionnaire was up for discussion, according to FHSAA minutes. While the new form makes the questions mandatory and removes the “FEMALES ONLY” designation, it removes a question on the longest time between periods experienced by the athletes who fill out the survey.
The version proposed at the Jan. 24 meeting includes a comment section after the menstrual section. “Explain ‘yes’ answers here,” the section says.
It was not immediately clear if the section pertains directly to the menstruation items, or if it was more expansive. WFLA.com has reached out to FHSAA for clarification.
Discussion on the menstrual cycle questions were focused on whether or not to make the question option for athletes to fill out, according to the meeting minutes.
The motion, put forward by board member and University of Florida professor Dr. Kevin Farmer, was not approved, by a 1-8 vote, according to the minutes.
In response to the FHSAA document, Jenn Meale Poggie, a Florida mother of three daughters, has launched a campaign to prevent mandatory menstrual reporting requirements for teenage athletes, called “Privacy. Period!”
“Teenaged girls’ menstrual cycles are private, and any conversations or disclosure about them should be among the girl, the parents and their physicians. Requiring disclosure about periods to athletic departments is a complete overstep and violation of privacy. Athletic departments need to stay out of health care and respect female athletes’ privacy,” Poggie said in a statement.
As noted in a recent fact-check publication by the Associated Press, the questionnaire changes were neither developed nor requested by the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Florida High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors will consider the proposed questionnaire in full at their next meeting, on Feb. 26 to Feb. 27. It has not yet received final approval for implementation.