A while back I wrote about Wes Leonard, the young man who succumbed to an undiagnosed heart defect called cardiomyopathy. Wes had just scored the winning points at the end of overtime to secure his team’s perfect season, 20-0, and was celebrating with teammates on the floor when he collapsed and died. This terrible story is made more tragic when you realize that Wes may have been saved if he had been screened before the start of the season.
Free screenings are becoming more popular, in part because of the media attention of Wes’ death. There is one close to where we live in Michigan being held September 24. ABC Channel 7 and Beaumont Hospitals are holding a “7 Health Edge Heart Check” on the campus of Oakland University from Noon-5:00 PM. These screenings are free of charge and open to student/athletes ages 14 – 18. I spoke with the people at Beaumont and they have only 900 appointments available, first-come, first-serve. Call (800) 633-7377 to register.
In the few years they have offered this program, more than 500 student/athletes have been diagnosed with serious heart problems and put under immediate doctor’s care. 34 of those had to stop playing sports altogether and 4 had hearts defects so severe they could have died at any moment.
Hard to imagine a good reason not to do this.