Testing our kids' hearts


Did you read about the western Michigan high school basketball player who collapsed on the court after making a game-winning shot a few weeks ago?

He died. Doctors say Wes Leonard’s enlarged heart failed. Here is an interview with this parents and more about his death. Watch the video.

This young man’s death is tragic, to say the least.

And his family isn’t alone with their grief. Recent sudden cardiac deaths of young athletes in Florida and Colorado, too, have reopened a national debate on whether young athletes should be given electrocardiograms before being allowed to play sports.

Student athletes get general physical exams from doctors; why not add the additional test? Some doctors and parents say the $75 EKG, which analyzes the heart’s electrical activity, should absolutely be part of a pre-participation exam.

Others – like the American Heart Association – say the cost of giving EKGs to millions of student athletes isn’t worth it. Plus, faulty test results could cause costly follow-up exams and cause a student to needlessly miss a sports season.

My take? So what. Get the test.

It’s $75. Do you know how much those basketball shoes cost? Or all that soccer or softball equipment? Do you know how much I pay for my son to take gymnastics each month? It’s more than $75.

If there is a test that could tell me if my child’s heart is in danger of FAILING, that could raise a red flag about him or her participating in athletics or even P.E., then sign me up.

And sign me up now.

Right? Are there those of you who would be opposed to such a mandatory screening? To comment, click on the header “Testing our kids’ hearts.”

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