Should You Screen Your Teen?

Should You Screen Your Teen?

The loss of young athletes in our community in recent years has raised the visibility of sudden cardiac arrest among active teens. And many parents are wondering if their own children are at risk.

An EKG, along with an echocardiogram, would very likely have detected a heart defect in Quinn Driscoll, a 13-year-old student athlete at Wy’East Middle School. Driscoll died in 2009 after having a cardiac arrest while running on the track during gym class.

Quinn had undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a serious heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It is believed to exist in roughly 1 out of 500 individuals. Approximately one case of sudden cardiac death occurs every three days in organized youth sports across the United States.

PeaceHealth Southwest partners with the Quinn Driscoll Foundation to offer Young Champions, an advanced screening program designed to spot HCM and other common causes of sudden cardiac arrest in teen athletes. This is an incredible opportunity for the kids of Clark County. These types of screenings are expensive, and there is controversy in the medical field about whether EKGs should be offered to every teenager who participates in athletic activities.

It’s important to note that Young Champions is funded almost entirely by our own community. We would not be able to offer these advanced screenings if not for the multitude of volunteers who provide services or donate supplies and equipment to make this happen.

Who is Eligible?

Any middle or high school student, athlete, band member or cheerleader from 12 to 18 years old is eligible for a Young Champions screening.

What is included in the screening?

  • Review of child’s personal and family health history
  • Blood pressure check
  • ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram)
  • Echocardiogram (if indicated)

Click here to learn more about Young Champions Teen Heart Screenings, and to schedule your teen’s screening.

Matt Nipper, Ms RCEP is the PeaceHealth Heart & Vascular Program Coordinator.

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