Monday, April 22, 2013

“GO BIG OR GO HOME” - Cody Stephens 1994-2012

The Tarleton State University family honors those that have passed away within the past year at an annual ceremony known as Silver Taps. Amongst the several Texans honored was 18year old Cody Stephens who was recruited to play football for the Tarleton Texans.  Cody was a 6’9” 300 lb. offensive lineman from Crosby High School; he passed away in his sleep May 2012 of hypercardiomyopathy, a disease in which the myocardium becomes hypertrophied making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Cody’s death weighed heavily on the hearts of the Tarleton Football family.

While Stephen’s condition was undetected, an Echocardiogram could have diagnosed the problem thereby allowing medical personnel to prescribe the remedy which might have saved his life. At Tarleton, athletes are required to take pre-season physicals that include screening for Sickle Cell, pre- and post-concussion,, and echocardiogram (EKG) stress tests. If Cody could have live long enough to make it to the campus pre-season physicals, his heart condition could have been detected.

Why is an EKG stress test NOT mandated for all pre-season physical exams at all level of play? The Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) which governs high school sports mandates the same physical that has been used for decades in sports. With advances in medicine and technology, why hasn’t the UIL updated its screen procedures?

Scott Stephens, Cody’s father, has begun the “Go Big or Go Home” foundation to generate awareness of these heart conditions and is campaigning for the UIL to make heart screenings a routine part of physicals. The Stephens family has endured a great deal of sorrow in the loss of this magnanimous young man.  Please consider supporting this campaign to generate new policies for Texas High School athletes!.

For more information on the “Go Big or Go Home” foundation visit or


  1. I wish it wouldn’t have taken a situation as sad as this to have occurred in order to mandate the EKG stress tests for all pre season physical exams. “Go Big or Go Home” is a great way to inform others of just how detrimental these tests can be for athletes and prevent someone else’s family heartache from such a sad and preventable situation. I feel as though heart screenings are important for football players especially, because they are out in the heat often for long periods of time for practice. These players are at higher risk for heat stroke, as well as regular stroke if they have an underlying heart issue. Although strokes do not always lead to death, they do commonly lead to irreversible injuries, which could all have been prevented by a simple heart screening.

  2. It's really sad to hear about something like this that could have easily been prevented. I think that all student athletes must pass a stress test as part of their pre-season physicals. If it only saves one life, it is worth it! Football players body’s go through so much because they are exposed to the elements while in full pads. During the summer in Texas, this can very dangerous if the athletes aren’t in the best of health. It is my hope that this sad tragedy will actually prevent future instances like this. "Go Big or Go Home" can help save lives!