Two Teens And Their Mama: Teens And Cardiac Arrest Part Two

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teens And Cardiac Arrest Part Two

A few months ago I wrote this post about teens and sudden heart failure.  Fall sports season is upon us, and many students will be hitting the fields and courts.  If you have a teenager or know one, PLEASE pass this information on to them.  It could save their life.


Teens and cardiac arrest.  Those words shouldn't be in the same sentence.  
Unfortunately, sudden heart failure is the leading cause of death in teen athletes. It's estimated that a young athlete suffers cardiac arrest every three days in the U.S.

Sudden cardiac arrest usually occurs during or right after exercise and there are no warning symptoms.  The heart stops pumping adequately and the child loses consciousness.  Unless a normal heart rhythm can be restored quickly, death will follow.

Scary stuff.  Tragically, these deaths are preventable in most cases.  A simple heart health screening, which involves a medical history and an ECG, will detect most cardiac abnormalities.  If there is an issue, it can be addressed before it turns deadly.

Both of my boys are athletes, but I had no idea about this until a young man in our community died  suddenly after a football game.  His mother formed The Nick of Time Foundation, a wonderful organization that provides heart health screenings at local schools and helps to educate the community about this problem.


C and T have both been screened, and it only took thirty minutes from start to finish. Your child's doctor can perform the ECG or give you a referral to a cardiac specialist.

Mandatory heart health screenings should be included in every sports physical before a student can participate.  It makes sense to be sure their hearts are capable of strenuous activity.
  

So many of the things that can hurt our teens are out of our control.  But this isn't one of them. And no parent should have to suffer the loss that Nick's mother did after that football game.

15 comments:

  1. A timely and important reminder Lana!

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  2. Why isn't this screening included with their sports physicals? Do they only do it in the case of a family history of heart disease or problems?

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    1. I don't know why more states don't include this with the sports physical. Family history doesn't matter as much with teen cardiac arrest - which is why it's so important to make sure each kid is healthy enough for strenuous activity.

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  3. This is so important! Thanks for sharing this!

    Jill
    dousedinpink.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Jill. I really want to get the word out!

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  4. Wow- every 3 days is a frightening statistic. I agree this should be included in all sports physicals. It seems to me they don't really check very much at those physicals. My son just had one before starting middle school. He is not an athlete but wanted to get a sports physical while we were there for his regular physical just in case he decided to play a sport. I basically filled out a form. The doctor didn't check anything more than she does in the regular yearly physical. I'm so sorry to hear of the tragic loss in your community! Hopefully her organization will bring awareness and change in this area.

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    1. I don't even have to take my son in for a separate sports physical - the doctor just signs it when I fax it in. Something more comprehensive is definitely needed.

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  5. Perfect timing Lana and great information. I actually went to school with a boy that died from this. I think another great idea would be to have defibrillators in all school gyms. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're right - defibrillators are so important! We have them at most of our schools, but we also need to teach people how to use them properly.

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  6. This is such important information! My son is in Marching Band and had a sports physical but I am honestly not sure if it included a heart screening (I will be finding out). Although not classified as a sport, his practices includes PT and running 3 miles so this is definitely need to know information! Thanks so much for sharing...

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    1. If your son is running, even in P.E., he should have the heart checkup. It only takes about 30 minutes and you will have peace of mind!

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  7. I followed you from the SITS link-up as your title caught my post. An extremely important topic! I was eighteen years old (and a swimmer) when I was diagnosed with my first form of cancer. Unfortunately, these health issues can touch us all - even children and teens. Thank you for sharing this. - Heather, Life of a Traveling Navy Wife

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! Hope you are doing well.

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