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Headline: Out of tragedies comes a blessing

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  • Headline: Out of tragedies comes a blessing

    ON HIGH SCHOOLS: Out of tragedies comes a blessing
    Curtis Bunn - Staff
    Atlanta Journal and Constitution
    Sunday, March 14, 2004


    The pain and anguish that enveloped the Boslet family --- and the other families who lost their young athletes to undetected heart-related deaths last year --- persists, at times like the calamity just occurred.

    Nothing can really ease the distress, but from the tragedies has come at least one rewarding story: Tricia McCue, a 17-year-old high jumper at Blessed Trinity, recently underwent a Heart Screens for Teens test at her school.

    The screening --- developed after the sudden deaths last year of Chattahoochee High's Ryan Boslet, Cedar Grove's Shai Owens and Southeast Bulloch's Derrick Plankenhorn --- helped detect a hole in McCue's heart. Her track career is over, but her life is not.

    She will have surgery this week and is expected to be fine.

    McCue, a senior, said she had no symptoms that were alarming.

    "Occasionally, there was shortness of breath, but nothing major," McCue said.

    It was the same for Boslet, Owens and Plankenhorn, who never complained of symptoms that might have given anyone a clue that something was wrong.

    McCue took the test because her mother, Elizabeth, suggested she do so. A few years ago, Tricia had a non-threatening heart murmur. "And after hearing about Ryan, she thought, 'Why not get it done?' " McCue said of her mother.

    Thank goodness she did.

    Through the Heart Screens For Teens process, doctors learned of McCue's once-identified heart murmur, and she mentioned the shortness of breath. That information clued doctors to perform an echocardiogram, which located the problem.

    You might expect a teenager to display a sense of concern regarding the upcoming surgery. Not McCue.

    "I'm fine and excited about the surgery," McCue said. "[But] it stinks that I can't run track or high jump anymore. But I'm definitely grateful for the test and finding the results. Not running track isn't the worst thing."

    McCue has worked with the high jumpers as an ad hoc coach/manager to stay close to the action. "It's good to still be a part of it," she said.

    McCue could be the living symbol for a bill the Boslet family steadfastly pushed in the state House last week that would mandate a thorough, standardized physical for athletes --- sixth grade through 12th --- across the state. Debates over the bill continue.

    Chris Boslet, Ryan's dad, is a little concerned about the second part of the bill, which addresses an education portion of the process, including a video designed to help educate coaches, trainers and parents to warning signs, risks, consequences of use of some supplements, etc.

    This facet of the bill, "was not discussed nearly as much as the [screening] form," Boslet said. "I feel that educating, specifically coaches and parents, is just as important. The physician sees the child once a year; we see them every day.

    "If we had been more educated on warning signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, perhaps we could have noticed something that would have alerted us to seek further testing [for Ryan].

    "I just hope that this portion of the bill passes and is addressed with the proper level of attention."

    Hear, hear.

    [email protected]

  • #2
    Re: Headline: Out of tragedies comes a blessing

    I'm so glad they took care of this.

    Reenie
    Reenie

    ****************
    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

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