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HEADLINE: Young athletes can test heart health today

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Tim Stewart Find out more about Tim Stewart
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  • HEADLINE: Young athletes can test heart health today

    Copyright 2003 The Austin American Statesman
    Austin American-Statesman (Texas)

    May 17, 2003, Saturday

    SECTION: Sports; Pg. C8

    LENGTH: 434 words

    HEADLINE: Young athletes can test heart health today

    BYLINE: Rick Cantu, AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

    BODY:
    For Austin cardiologist George Rodgers, "sudden death" has nothing to do with
    a game going into overtime.

    Too many high school student-athletes die suddenly on practice and playing
    fields, he said. His mission is to screen for heart problems before it's too
    late.

    For the third straight year, athletes from ages 15 to 18 can take a free
    five-minute echocardiogram to ensure proper health. The Healthy Heart Fest will
    be held from 8 a.m. to noon today at the Heart Hospital of Austin, on the corner
    of 38th Street and Lamar Boulevard.

    Volunteer cardiologists will look for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the
    No. 1 cause of sudden death in young people.

    Austin Heart Foundation is teaming up with Schlotzsky's Deli to provide the
    free screenings. The average cost of such a procedure in a medical office is
    about $500, Rodgers said.

    "We've had a great response from parents who are relieved when their kids are
    given the green light to play," said Rodgers, adding that one teenager in 500
    has HCM, commonly called an enlarged heart. HCM is the most common reason for 55
    percent of sudden deaths in athletes across the country.

    "You can be fine one minute, dead the next minute," he said.

    A silent killer, HCM was the cause of death for two Texas high school
    football players in 2001 -- Steven Taylor, 15, of Luling, and Leonard Carter II,
    14, of Houston.

    Luling Coach Jeff Rochat said some of his players were "reeling" after
    Taylor's death, reluctant to return to play football. To help offset their fear,
    125 Luling athletes were screened for heart defects at the school, and all
    tested fine.

    "This provides an opportunity for many kids who would fall through the cracks
    because they wouldn't be able to afford it," Rochat said.

    There were 618 students who took the test in 2001, and 12 of them were
    recommended to have further diagnostic testing to determine heart abnormalities,
    Rodgers said. One athlete, a football player, later was diagnosed with HCM.

    There were 688 students screened in 2002, and 17 of them were told to have
    more tests. There were no cases of HCM detected last year, Rodgers said.

    There will be another screening in Austin on Aug. 9. Screening dates this
    summer will be made for several Central Texas towns, including San Marcos, Round
    Rock, Killeen, Bastrop, Luling, La Grange, Llano and Leander.

    [email protected]; 445-3953

    (from box)

    Healthy Heart Fest

    When: Today, 8 a.m. to noon

    Where: Heart Hospital of Austin, 38th Street and Lamar Boulevard

    Who: For boys' and girls' student-athletes, 15-18 years old

    Cost: Free

    LOAD-DATE: May 17, 2003
    Thanks, Tim
    Forum Administrator

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