Friday, February 1, 2013

Heart Screenings for Athletes

Heart screening for athletes has become an essential element in the pre-requisite athletic physical. Although some may deem it unnecessary, the heart screening is a simple, relatively inexpensive noninvasive procedure that can save lives. Preventable cardiac-related deaths in young athletes have recently been highlighted in the news. In 2011, Michigan high school basketball star, Wes Leonard, collapsed and died on the court from an enlarged heart ( This is just one of many cases that have recently occurred over the past two decades. Read more on athletic cardiac instances here

Cypress ISD, located in Houston, has heeded the ‘call to action’ and has implemented the ECG Project. The Cypress ECG Project, a non-profit organization, began in 2006 with its primary focus on research and the potential impact of cardiac screening in high school athletics. In 2012, the Project worked with 36 active schools and found three serious cases of potential cardiac damage. In the previous school year, 21 cases were found. 

The Cypress ECG project is focused on preventative screening and is doing a great job keeping the young high school athletes safe. However, I believe heart screenings for all student-athletes (high school and collegiate) across the nation should be mandated by law. As a matter of fact, I am proud that my university is leading the way in this initiative; Tarleton State University requiring heart screenings with resting ECGs as required part of the athletic physical.