As I sit here filling out registration forms for Anthony, to start kindergarten, I hear that another high school athlete has died out on the football field. Right now they are saying that cause of death is from heat exhaustion until they are able to do an autopsy. Chances are I think that once they perform this autopsy that they are going to find out that this kid had an undetected heart problem.
If there is one thing that I am more passionate about than Down Syndrome it is heart problems. It just boggles my mind that in this day and age and that so many young men and women have to die while out on the fields playing sports that they love just because a simple test was not done to check out the condition of their heart.
Coming from a mom with two kids with congenital heart defects that were not caught after they were born. I now know how easy it is for a doctor to not be able to pick up a heart murmur in the office by just listening. Doctors need to do EKG and Ultrasounds in able to pick up problems that the heart is experiencing.
Of course we brought Mark, to the cardiologist when he was first born even though he had left with no known defects. To find out that he had 2 holes in his heart and that he had one valve. To have such significant problems in his heart and never have it detected in the hospital dumbfounds me. Then Mark's, cardiologist suggested that David, be checked out also since he said kids that are born after a sibling with congenital heart defects are also likely to have some defects. I am so thankful that I listened to the doctor and brought him in because we found out that he to has a significant murmur and that his blood vessels were bigger than the muscles of his heart and something that needs to be checked on every 6 months.
So as the mother of 4 boys I am going to be sending my oldest 2 to the cardiologist just to give me a piece of mind that they are okay or to see if we need to monitor them. I had mentioned to another mother about how younger siblings of congenital siblings should be checked out also and she said my doctor would never put a referral in based on the fact that a sibling had a heart problem. I posed to her though that she wouldn't know if she didn't ask and that it is family history and now a known trait. That if it was me I would be asking and then demanding and if I still did not get what I wanted then I would sacrifice and make arrangements with the cardiologist for payment. She was surprised when she asked her doctor for a referral that it was given to her.
I think it should be mandatory for kids to have a more thorough check done when they go in for physicals when they play sports. I know when I use to go in for high school physicals it was such a joke. They took all your vitals and then asked if you had any allergies and any known medical conditions that would limit your playing. What an absolute joke these physicals were they just barely looked at you as they were signing your form allowing you to play sports for another school year.
I want to reach someone long before my kids ever get into high school about getting athletes hearts checked out. I think that these physicals need to have on there that an EKG or ultrasound was done of the heart before they were cleared to play sports. I never want my kids to lose a friend and teammate out on the field because they died of an undetected heart problem.
If insurances won't allow you to see a cardiologist unless there is an actual cause for it. I think that the schools should work with local cardiologists and have them come to the high school and perform tests on the kids. This seems like something that could be done for relatively cheap especially if teams do fundraisers for it and if the doctors worked with the schools to keep the costs low. Plus it is a relatively quick procedure that probably doesn't take much more than 15 minutes to do. I know for us it takes about 45 minutes to an hour but that is just because it takes a long time to keep the babies settled down.
How many young adults have to die out on the fields before schools start to get smart and say maybe these deaths can be prevented if we do something more proactive?
Just something that has been bothering me for the last couple of weeks it just drives me crazy to hear about all these kids that die because they didn't know.