The debate has grown over the last several years and continues to get louder. Each year kids die due to unknown heart conditions – sometimes while playing a sport for their high school.
A recent case involved David Wilganowski, a 17 year old football player at James Earl Rudder High School in Bryan, Texas. He was in the middle of a game when his heart simply stopped. Certified athletic trainers immediately started working on him and restarted his heart with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
He is considered lucky. Many times when a similar event occurs, the young athlete often dies. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), about 100 young athletes die every year and roughly half of those pass away from cardiac arrest.
Can EKGs help find problems before it’s too late? Often they can find irregularities but the question is whether they can ultimately save lives. Some believe testing and screening can cause false positives or miss the root problem. Others believe it’s worth it to check and find if there are ANY irregularities.
Unfortunately, it is not an exact science.
How do you feel about screening teen athletes for heart conditions? Should teen athletes be required to have an EKG prior to participating in school sports? We’d love to hear your opinion.