Save student athletes
I was so pleased to see that area coaches are working to protect their athletes from heat-related deaths. As the school athletic season begins, I'd like to remind parents and coaches of another important health issue that might affect their athlete. My son, Will Nunnally, died in 2004 due to a heart condition while playing floor hockey. Two other local student athletes collapsed and fortunately were saved after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
Almost 1 percent of the children born each year are born with heart defects, and many do not know it until they collapse. The American Heart Association has recommended some simple screening procedures that, if added to a sports physical, can help athletes determine whether they are at risk: (1) an extremely detailed family history, (2) listening to the heart both while standing up and lying on the back, (3) checking the femoral pulses, (4) checking for physical symptoms of Marfans syndrome and (5) taking blood pressure in the sitting position.
These procedures are not perfect. But using these procedures and equipping facilities with defibrillators may save more lives this season.