Brevard County Schools Now Require Heart Screening For All Student-Athletes To Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest

By  //  June 25, 2019

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Sudden cardiac arrests could happen if student athlete has an undetected heart problem

In 2007, Rafe Maccarone, a Cocoa Beach High School soccer player, died from heart complications after a training session. He was later found to have undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Sports and athletics have always been an integral part of the extracurricular system. They provide students with an avenue through which to express their talents in other aspects besides academics.

They encourage dedication, teamwork, sportsmanship, and most of all, courage. But with these benefits also come a few dangers and challenges.

The risk of injury will always be around in full contact sports, and there’s also the risk that a student may not be able to strike a balance between athletics and academics.

Proper exercise and proper diets are both staples in being able to train safely and grow stronger,  but supplements like Nordic Naturals help amplify these effects even further.

These are a few risks that are expected. A sudden cardiac arrest is, unfortunately, one of these risks. While the majority of our readers may not have heard of this, it does happen from time to time.

It is for this reason that on April 9, 2019, school leaders in Brevard County began to consider plans that would require schools to screen student-athletes for any heart ailments that may be previously undetected.

This proposition came after a number of cases where student-athletes suffered sudden cardiac arrest were discovered.

Even though 11 out of 15 public schools in Brevard County already offer cardiac screenings, there is no active policy that requires schools to screen their athletes.

This means that students are free to decline cardiac screening, and this defeats the purpose of having a screening program in place. It also means that both schools and students are taking an unnecessary risk.

Sudden cardiac arrests could happen to any student-athlete when they have an undetected heart problem and proceed to engage in strenuous physical activities anyway. A physical exam is simply unable to detect any heart problems.

Sports and athletics have always been an integral part of the extracurricular system. They provide students with an avenue through which to express their talents in other aspects besides academics.

Who Will Perform The Screening?

In 2007, Rafe Maccarone, a Cocoa Beach High School soccer player, died from heart complications after a training session. He was later found to have undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

This incident is what sparked the friends and family of Maccarone to start a nonprofit called Who We Play For (formerly Play For Rafe), which was not only meant as a means to keep Rafe in memory but also to help raise funds so that student-athletes who don’t have the means to get tested are able to do so.

The nonprofit has also raised funds so that they could purchase automatic external defibrillators that can help resuscitate students who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.

Because of the nonprofit’s efforts, AEDs are now commonplace in Brevard County schools.

An Update On The Proposal

On June 1, 2019, the proposal requiring schools in Brevard County to conduct heart screenings for all student-athletes was put into effect and starting this summer, all student-athletes will be required to undergo an ECG scan.

This means that whenever a student wishes to take part in sports activities, that student must first undergo the scan to ensure that there are no undiagnosed heart ailments that may put their lives at risk.

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