Government and Politics

Free heart screenings to reduce high school sports deaths moves to Flagler County

Public school athletes in Flagler County will have the chance this week to take part in a free screening for the type of abnormal heart functions that are often left undiagnosed until the student collapses and, potentially, it's too late for intervention.

The screenings are part of AdventHealth's expanding partnerships with Central Florida school districts.

"It’s not an excessive precaution," reported Flagler Live. "Rather, it’s a long-overdue response by districts like Flagler’s to what has been a small but significant risk to young athletes: sudden cardiac arrest."

The goal of the program is to prevent sudden cardiac arrest among students with previously undetected heart conditions.

In many cases, those conditions can be treated and students can resume high-level physical activity.

According to the Flagler Live report, "The Centers for Disease Control finds that about 66 young athletes die of sudden cardiac arrest each year in the United States. The figure is based on a study that looked at athlete deaths over a 27-year period in 38 sports, ending in 2006. Another ominous finding of the study was that there were more than twice as many deaths in the second half of the period studied than in the first, and that deaths among young athletes were increasing at a rate of 6 percent a year."

The screenings that will be offered this week are similar to the sports physical event offered for Volusia County students at Daytona International Speedway over the summer.