By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
About 40 high school athletes are at Blue Valley Southwest High School on Saturday to make sure their hearts are in shape.
"When we were at a cross country meet the other day and a kid collapsed and they brought in the ambulance, it scared me. We are here to make sure we don't have that happening to us," mother Chris Heise said.
Heise brought her son, Matthew, to have his heart checked out.
"It will give me peace of mind that we don't have anything going on internally," she said.
This is Athletic Testing Solutions' first testing session. ATS is an Overland Park company that partners with school districts to screen athletes for sudden cardiac arrest. Officials said cardiac arrest can be similar to a heart attack and the heart just stops beating.
The $99 test includes a blood pressure check, an EKG and an ultrasound of the heart and officials at Saturday's event said the price is very inexpensive compared to what could be paid at numerous trips to a doctor.
Eric Schroeder with ATS said the tests look at the heart thickness, valves opening and closing, to make sure the heart is functioning properly.
"Sudden cardiac arrest is kind of an interesting phenomenon because a lot of people don't even know they have some of the conditions that cause it," Schroeder said. "Some of it is hereditary, some of it is developed over a period of time over training and some of it is just a congenital birth defect."
Soccer player Jackson Hunnicutt will get results in about 10 days.
"Make sure I'm healthy and I can go those full 80 minutes," he said of why he got checked out Saturday.
Schroeder said young athletes can develop heart issues without ever knowing there's a problem.
"You never know when it could show up and, a lot of the time, the first sign is actual cardiac arrest," Schroeder said.
For moms at the event with their children, knowing means one less thing to worry about.
"As a mom, just wanting to make sure everything is functioning right. You hear stories about how kids have collapsed on the field - just making sure everything is working right," Jennie Hunnicutt said.
On average, two or three young athletes suddenly collapse and die from undiagnosed heart ailments each week around the country.
Athletic Testing Solutions has several other testing events planned. Click here for more information.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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