Austin-area athletes provided free heart screenings

*Correction-The super should read George Rodgers, not Rodges.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s not just NFL players who are being urged to check for health issues. Young athletes are years away from the professional level but still face an intense demand on their bodies.

The intensity of sports, especially at the Varsity level, presents a problem if teens suffer from a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or HCM. The Championship Hearts Foundation stepped in on Sunday and decided to help.

Just one day after screening retired NFL football players, the non-profit organization gathered again at the Seton Heart Institute and offered free heart screenings to young athletes ranging from 14 to 18 years old. Cardiologist and President of Championship Hearts, George Rodgers, saw over 100 student athletes and said while most tests come back with positive results, you can never be too safe.

“Ninety nine percent of the time that is the case but it’s nice to be able to look into that,” said Rodgers. “I think people find it a great value and great peace of mind for parents to know that their young athlete is healthy from a heart stand point.”

The free screening included a 12-lead electrocardiogram and a limited 2-D echocardiogram and lasted approximately 20 minutes for each patient.

Young athletes have been receiving free screenings from the Championship Hearts Institute for over 15 years but this year was something special. The screenings that usually take place on Saturdays were pushed back a day in order to welcome in some professionals.

“Today was a really special day because yesterday we screened retired NFL football players and today we are screening aspiring athletes,” said Rodgers. “It was really great to get some of the pro’s here to meet the students.”

Rodgers recommends that teenagers get one heart screening during their time in high school.

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