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Headline: District Wants Tests For Student Athletes

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  • Headline: District Wants Tests For Student Athletes

    Copyright 2003 Tower Media, Inc.
    The Daily News of Los Angeles

    December 15, 2003 Monday, Antelope Valley Edition

    SECTION: NEWS; Pg. AV2

    LENGTH: 371 words

    HEADLINE: DISTRICT WANTS TESTS FOR STUDENT ATHLETES

    BYLINE: Karen Maeshiro, Staff Writer

    BODY:

    EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - After the death of a boy last summer at football
    practice, school officials are devising a standardized procedure and clearance
    form for student athletes to get doctors' approval to play.

    Raul Ramirez Jr., 17, who was 5-feet-9 and weighed 318 pounds, had not
    received a doctor's clearance to play football. He was a new student who had
    enrolled a week before his death Aug. 22 and wanted to go out for the football
    team.

    "They were in the process of trying to get that," Muroc Joint Unified School
    District Superintendent Bertha Boullion said. "All this happened so quickly."

    Los Angeles County coroner's officials said the cause of the teen's death
    was idiopathic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle,
    often an inherited condition, according to The Cardiomyopathy Association.
    "Idiopathic" indicates a disease whose cause is unknown or uncertain.

    "The question is, is this something that a sports physical would have found?
    " Boullion said.

    Ramirez was in his second day of football practice before school started for
    the year and was walking through sprints when he collapsed shortly after 8 a.m.

    The team held practices in the morning and late afternoon to avoid the hot
    sun and kept lots of water on hand, district officials said. The temperature at
    the time Ramirez collapsed reportedly was in the mid-70s, district officials
    said.

    Ramirez was taken by helicopter to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was
    pronounced dead at 9:38 a.m., coroner's officials said.

    Ramirez was living on the base with his sister, who is in the military.
    Their parents reside in Texas, district officials said.

    The district is working to develop a uniform procedure and a
    district-approved form for students to use to obtain medical clearance.

    Boullion said she would like a more comprehensive assessment than just a
    doctor's signature on the form.

    "We want to get a district-approved form that students can take to the
    doctor so that we can have some assurances and feel comfortable that kids have
    gone through a complete physical," Boullion said.

    Karen Maeshiro
    karen.maeshiro(at)dailynews.com

    LOAD-DATE: December 16, 2003

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