A state law now gives students in Texas the option of getting an electrocardiography heart screening as part of an athletic physical exam.
An event in Fort Worth this weekend will make getting that screening easier by offering them for free.
"One in 300 kids have a heart abnormality that goes unnoticed, and if we can do a simple ECG to find these heart abnormalities, that could lead to a sudden cardiac arrest event. If we can prevent that, that's what our whole goal is," said Nathan Schwarz, the North Texas Heart Screening Director for the Cody Stephens Memorial Foundation.
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The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation pushed for House Bill 76, or "Cody's Law." Stephens died from an undetected heart condition just weeks before graduating from Crosby High School in 2012. The bill was passed in the 2019 legislative sessions.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for young athletes, according to the Journal of Athletic training.
"The ECG will find structural activity, electrical activity that's abnormal in the heart." Schwarz. "And if they're low risk, they continue doing what they're doing but if they come back with an abnormality, we want them to get it checked out as soon as possible not an emergency room event but as soon as possible."
The Cody Stephens Foundation along with the Ryan Powell Memorial Foundation, Holden Strong Awareness Campaign and Run are picking up for tab for the free ECGs.
The screenings are being offered to Fort Worth ISD students ranging from 11 years old to high school seniors participating in athletics, band, cheer and JROTC.
The Healthy Hearts DFW - Free Youth Heart Screening event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 28 at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center Gate 1, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd. in Fort Worth.
“Health and safety of our students always comes first," said Todd Vesely, FWISD Executive Director of Athletics.
To register, visit GBOGH.as.me/HealthyHeartsDFW.
For additional information email Nathan Schwarz, the North Texas/Louisiana heart screening director for the Cody Stephens Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org.