The condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a cardiac defect which makes extensive exercise dangerous. It is, however, treatable if screened early.

The U. S. Olympic Committee doesn't require a physical for U.S. athletes, but more than less are conducting voluntary cardiac screening at its training center.

A statistic often cited is that there are 10 to 13 cases of sudden cardiac death among young athletes that are reported yearly.

There are some physicians who state that the count could be much higher, but many physicians agree that scans should be performed on athletes with a family history of sudden cardiac death and/or with symptoms such as heart murmurs, shortness of breath or a history of fainting.

The more common scanning techniques used today are EKG's and echo cardiograms. But neither may find every defect — although the scans can pick up problems that a physician (even with a stethoscope) could miss.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and ‘88 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss has a practice in Darien, and is a member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle.