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Forest Hills Eastern Basketball Teams & Metro Health Work to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death

Forest Hills Eastern High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams will raise awareness of and funds for screening to prevent sudden cardiac death of student athletes during basketball games on the evening of Friday, Feb. 10.

WHAT: Fundraiser to launch a program to provide free cardiac screens for West Michigan student athletes. To launch the process, 31 varsity girls and boys basketball players received free cardiac screens from Metro Health Sports Medicine and Metro Heart & Vascular on Jan. 16 to raise awareness of sudden heart death and its symptoms. The teams are raising additional funds through the sale of student-designed T-shirts at the Feb. 10 game to finance additional screenings of other varsity athletic teams.

During the screening, students were examined by a Sports Medicine specialist and then received an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This diagnostic tool is routinely used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart. A board-certified cardiologist read the ECG and, if appropriate, ordered an echoardiogram (ECHO) that was done immediately on site. An ECHO is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of the heart. These sound waves are turned into moving pictures of the heart that can be seen on a video screen. Both tests are painless.

WHEN: Friday, Feb.10
          Varsity girls game 6 p.m.
          Varsity boys game 7:30 p.m.

WHY: Sudden death due to heart problems is rare in young athletes, estimated at 1 in 50,000. Although the rate of death is 1 in 50,000, having a condition predisposing a person to sudden cardiac death is 1 in 333 (or 3 in 1,000), many of which can be corrected if found. Our community has been touched by the sudden death and cardiac crises in student athletes.

This screening aims to reduce risk even further by screening for potential cardiac problems, including other heart abnormalities that are much less serious but are important for athletes to be aware of.

WHERE: Forest Hills Eastern High School
           2200 Pettis Ave. NE
           Ada, MI 49301

WHO: Forest Hils Eastern High School varsity basketball teams
         Middleville Thornapple Kellogg High School varsity basketball teams
         Metro Health Hospital Foundation

COST: Admission is free for both games with the purchase of a student-designed T-shirt. T-shirts can be purchased for $10 at the game.

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joseph.weller@metrogr.org