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Coaches Can Help Save Lives

Coaches Can Help Save Lives

Coaches can help save the lives of young athletes at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Desmond Howard, ESPN College GameDay Analyst, Superbowl XXXI MVP and Heisman Trophy Winner, talks to fans about how they can take charge of their heart health. Watch video.

What can you do?
Be sure to screen your student athletes for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Download the screening questions below, and use them as part of your physical screening. These questions will help assess each athlete's risk of SCA.

Know the SCA risk factors. If you become aware of an athlete who has any of the risk factors listed below, recommend cardiac testing.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest risk factors

  • Family history of unexpected, unexplained sudden death in a young person
  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure during exercise, excitement or when startled
  • Consistent or unusual chest pain and/or shortness of breath during exercise

Cardiac testing
Cardiac testing has the potential to identify hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and save athletes from sudden cardiac death.

Cardiac testing often includes two simple tests:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures electrical activity in the heart. It has the potential to detect heart conditions that account for up to 60% of sudden deaths in young competitive athletes.(1)
  • An echocardiogram (echo), an ultrasound of the heart, takes moving pictures of the heart.
  • In one long-term study, screening athletes with cardiac testing reduced the number of sudden cardiac deaths by 89%.(2)

What should you know about your athletes? Download our guide.

This information is not a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor or health care provider.

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