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Heart of Champion screenings offered to high school athletes

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

One week remains for students from four area high schools to register for free athletic screenings being offered later this month that will include a check for heart-related problems.
Taking place July 21 at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, “Heart of a Champion Day” is open to students from East Lincoln High School, Lincoln Charter School, Lincolnton High School and North Lincoln High School, with student eligibility based on signed athletic-training agreements between Carolinas HealthCare System and the schools.
Jordan Frye, senior marketing coordinator at CMC-Lincoln, told the Times-News this week that the event offers a chance to provide awareness of sudden cardiac arrest. In recent years, reports of high school athletes suffering sudden cardiac death have gained media attention across the country.
The screenings provided will include a check for heart abnormalities, which may include an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram, in addition to orthopedic and general medical screenings.  The medical histories of student-athletes will also be reviewed, and sports-specific exams will be administered.
Lincolnton High School Athletic Trainer Jordan Beard described the screenings as “comprehensive physicals” that are normally valued at $1,500.
The three primary genetic defects doctors will look for during the exams include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and Long Q-T Interval Syndrome.
Hearts tests of this kind are not typically offered during routine athletic checkups.
Frye noted that those students who received the tests for genetic defects last year would not have to do so again, as any problem would have shown up in their initial screening.
“Heart of a Champion Day” participants must register online by visiting www.heartofachampionday.org and clicking on the “STUDENTS” tab at the top of the page.
Registration is open now for Lincoln County students from the participating schools and will close July 13.
This is the second year the event has been offered locally, having started four years ago in Charlotte. Last year, more than 200 of the county’s student-athletes participated. Of those students screened at CMC-Lincoln in 2011, five were found to have medical conditions that required follow-up, according to an event announcement.
Frye said she expects the number of participants to double this year.
Participating students will be bused by their schools to the screenings based on a set schedule.
CMC-Lincoln, CMC Sports Medicine, Levine Children’s Hospital, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, CMC Orthopaedic Surgery and East Lincoln Primary Care are sponsoring the Lincolnton screening, which will be held at the CMC-Lincoln Medical Plaza, 441 McAlister Road.
The heart checks will be conducted inside MED-1, CMC’s mobile hospital.
For more information about “Heart of a Champion Day,” call (980) 212-6041 or visit www.heartofachampionday.org.

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