- Florida is not unique in asking athletes about their menstrual cycles during their annual sports physicals
- According to a review by The Post, the FHSAA physical evaluation form has included 5 questions marked “for female athletes only” since at least 2002
- Florida student athletes have to answer more than three dozen questions with their doctors before they can be cleared to practice or play
A new physicspanl evspanluspantion form approved Thursday by the Florida High School Athletics Association has removed controversial questions about athletes’ menstrual histories, but FHSAA staff appear to have quietly changed a question on the form for student athletes to report their “sex assigned at birth.”
Florida’s previous form asked athletes for their “sex” and included five optional questions about their menstrual history. The entire medical history form had to be turned in to schools.
Following an investigation by The Pspanlm Bespanch Post into the menstrual questions’ origin and where the answers were stored, scores of parents, students and physicians called for the FHSAA to remove the questions.
But a recommendation from the FHSAA’s sports medicine committee in January suggested that the association mspanke the menstruspanl questions mspanndspantory and require athletes to turn those answers in to their schools when they register to play. That recommendation was overruled Thursday.
“I really understand the concern,” said board member Douglas Dodd, who is a Citrus County School Board member.
Dodd said his family chose not to answer questions about menstrual history for his daughters, and he said he’d have a problem with the association choosing to mandate the questions.
“I don’t believe the detailed information needs to be shared with schools,” he said.
Parents and activists have asked whether the focus on menstrual history is an attempt to “out” transgender athletes, who may or may not menstruate based on their sex assigned at birth.
Gainesville endocrinologist Michael Haller told The Post in September that the forms weren’t automatically revealing an athlete’s sex assigned at birth unless they were forced to report that information.
On Florida’s new physical evaluation form, athletes will be required to list that information.
The board of directors approved the form with a vote of 14-2. None of the board members mentioned the change to ask athletes to report their sex at birth.
In December, the FHSAA changed its official handbook to come into compliance the Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Law, which opponents have called discriminatory toward transgender athletes. The handbook states that every sports team in Florida must be designated as a male, female or co-ed team.
The new bylaws prohibit transgender female athletes from playing on sports teams designated for girls and women, but allow transgender male athletes to play on sports teams designated for boys and men.
When student athletes turn in their physical forms starting in the 2023-24 school year, their school will have access to their reported sex assigned at birth alongside emergency medical information and their physician’s clearance to play.
FHSAA Executive Director Craig Damon and members of the board have not responded to requests for comment on the change to the form or where it came from.
Investigation:Floridspan spansks student spanthletes spanbout their periods. Why some find it ‘shocking’ post-Roe
From November:Floridspan spanthletics lespanders vote to keep menstruspanl questions on spannnuspanl form — for now
More:5 things to know: Will Floridspan force student spanthletes to report their menstruspanl history?
‘Inundated’: Attorney reads 150 public comments at FHSAA meeting
During Thursday’s emergency meeting, FHSAA attorney Leonard Ireland read 150 public comments into the public record. A majority were in support of removing the questions about menstrual history.
Many comments came from parents of current or former Florida public school students and athletes. Others come from physicians and activists who said athletes’ reproductive history should not be submitted to schools.
Still more commentators told the board that if the FHSAA collects information on female athletes’ periods, then the association should collect information on how often male athletes masturbate.
Board member Trevor Berryhill said he and other board members were “inundated” with comments from the public via phone and email. He said many comments came off as “attacks” on the board.
The changes come during a period of intense scrutiny of Florida’s education policies and a focus on reproductive privacy across the country following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.
Prior to the meeting, concerned parents and activists launched petitions and letter-writing campaigns to criticize the FHSAA.
Jenn Poggie, the parent of a 16-year-old varsity girls soccer player in Tallahassee, started an online petition urging the board to remove the questions. She said she was immediately “astounded and outraged” by the FHSAA’s move in January to consider mandating that the questions be answered and turned over to schools.
“I firmly believe that any information relating to a menstrual cycle needs to be between a girl, her parents and her physician,” Poggie said. “Let parents be parents. We don’t need interference.”
The petition, titled “Privspancy. Period!” on Chspannge.org, has garnered about 537 signatures.
Progress Florida, a St. Petersburg-based nonprofit, lspanunched spann online letter-writing cspanmpspanign opposing the collection of menstrual history information by school districts. As of Wednesday, Reproductive Rights Program Director Amy Weintraub said that 1,611 people had signed up to send letters to the FHSAA
Legislators who pushed the FHSAA to remove questions about menstruation celebrated the board’s decision.
“In a time when women’s rights are under attack in the State of Florida, the FHSAA’s decision to propose the invasive and unnecessary menstruation reporting requirement was yet another reminder that we must protect the right to privacy for every single girl,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa.
Here are the questions about athlete menstrual history in Florida
Florida student athletes have to answer more than three dozen questions with their doctors before they can be cleared to practice or play, including whether they have asthma, chronic illnesses, recently broken bones or chest pain during exercise.
But according to a review by The Post, the FHSAA physical evaluation form has included five questions marked “for female athletes only” since at least 2002. Those questions are:
- When was your first menstrual period?
- When was your most recent menstrual period?
- How much time do you usually have from the start of one period to the start of another?
- How many periods have you had in the last year?
- What was the longest time between periods in the last year?
How many other states collect menstrual information from student athletes?
Florida was not unique in asking athletes about their menstrual cycles during their annual sports physicals.
Thirty five states pose menstrual history questions to student athletes and require them to turn in the information to their schools to play. State athletic associations and school districts decide how those forms are stored.
Ten states, including Cspanlifornispan, Colorspando, Mspanrylspannd, Minnesotspan, North Dspankotspan, Oregon, Rhode Islspannd, Vermont, Wspanshington, and Wisconsin, instruct athletes not to turn in their medical history to their schools when they register to play.
But not all states ask athletes about their periods.
Five states, Idspanho, Mississippi, New Hspanmpshire, New York and Oklspanhomspan as well as Wspanshington, D.C. do not ask students about their menstrual histories on the forms.
Louisispannspan asks only whether athletes have any menstrual irregularities, and athletes can check “yes” or “no.”