Student athletes undergo potentially lifesaving tests

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As students return to the classroom, that also means getting back to their favorite sports. With that in mind, the Heart Hospital of Austin performed free heart screenings for students ages 14-18.

IN-DEPTH: Heart Screenings

One in 500 teen athletes has Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or HCM, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in teens. The condition can be asymptomatic and is often only diagnosable through heart screenings.Several organizations in Central Texas offer free heart screenings for athletes including Championship Hearts Foundation and Heart Hospital of Austin.

Upcoming screenings

  • Championship Hearts Foundation — June, July, August, September Appointment required, more info
  • Heart Hospital of Austin — August Appointment required, More info

Doctors at the hospital say one in every 500 students is affected by a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. The condition causes the heart muscles to thicken, constricting blood flow.

“I didn’t really know about this ’til like a week ago but I’m really glad I don’t have it cause I do do a lot of sports,” said Connor Breckenridge, who underwent testing Saturday.

Electrocardiograms and echocardiograms can spot potential trouble. The tests take about five minutes each. After getting tested Saturday, students, like Brackenridge, went over the results with a doctor.

“The fact that they get the community together and offer this as a service.. it’s really a miracle for a lot of kids who may have some kind of heart issue that they are not aware of,” Connor’s mom, Lisa Breckenridge said.

In June, KXAN told you about a father pushing the UIL to require heart screenings for student athletes after his son died from Sudden Cardiac Death.

Scott Stephens’ testified in front of the Sunset Commission, asking members to consider making an electrocardiogram required for all student-athletes. Click here to read more.

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