2,000 Student-Athletes Screened at Heart of a Champion Day Events | Schools
Nearly 2,000 local high school student-athletes received free comprehensive athletic screenings at four separate locations this summer at Heart of a Champion Day, a Carolinas HealthCare System program that is thought to be the largest screening of its kind nationwide.
Comprehensive screenings, including heart, orthopedic and general medical checks, took place in Mecklenburg, Lincoln and Union counties in North Carolina, and in York County, South Carolina.
113 students who were screened at these locations required additional medical care prior to participating in high school athletics. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools screening, held at the Carolinas College of Health Sciences, checked more than 1,300 student-athletes, with 100 requiring follow-up medical attention. In addition, heart-only screenings were administered to 110 Cabarrus County student-athletes, which resulted in two students needing follow-up medical visits.
Conditions discovered at the comprehensive screenings often require ongoing medical attention and may have gone undetected without these free screenings. Conditions found include heart ailments, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, vision problems, post-concussion syndrome, and bone and muscle injuries.
Unique to Heart of a Champion Day is the administration of electrocardiograms and echocardiograms that check for heart conditions which could lead to sudden cardiac death. Neither heart test is offered during a routine athletic screening.
“Public awareness of young athletes who collapse during athletic competition and are found to have had a genetic heart condition has grown tremendously in recent years,” said Dr. Nicholas Sliz, a pediatric cardiologist at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute. “While these conditions are rare, we feel we are doing a great service to the community if we are able to prevent just one family from experiencing the catastrophic loss of a child.”
“Catching orthopedic and general medical conditions early will provide the time needed to effectively treat them before the next athletic season,” said Dr. David Price, associate director of sports medicine at Carolinas Medical Center and medical director of Heart of a Champion Day. “We alerted parents to schedule an appointment with their family physician or pediatrician for follow-up care. In cases where the child did not have a primary care physician, we were able to provide names of physicians who are accepting new patients,” Price said.
Approximately 650 Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) employees volunteered to provide the screenings. Volunteers included administrative assistants who checked in students, pediatric cardiologists who read the electrocardiograms and echocardiograms, primary care providers who performed general medical exams, registered nurses who took blood pressures and administered eye tests and certified athletic trainers who, in addition to helping at the events, performed pre-event planning and post-event follow-up. In addition, OrthoCarolina provided physicians and physician assistants who performed orthopedic checks at the Mecklenburg, Union and York screenings.