Football player's death highlights need for heart screenings - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Football player's death highlights need for heart screenings

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After a South Carolina high school football player collapsed on the field Friday and later died from a heart condition, doctors in Charlotte are talking about the importance of thorough health screenings for student athletes.

In the Charlotte region, 2,000 students took advantage of free tests offered by Carolinas HealthCare System this year.

"It's a little different than your traditional sports screening in the fact that we do cardiac tests," said Dr. David Price, medical director for Heart of a Champion Day.

The annual screening event is a comprehensive one. Students talk about medical history. They get full exams, including orthopedic exams and heart tests including EKGs.

According to Dr. Price, only a handful of athletes are flagged for further tests, and typically just one student a year is sidelined. But to that one family, the screening can be life-saving. That's why he wants to see even more participation, especially now that screenings are available in six counties - Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Union, Cabarrus, Rowan, and York County, SC.

"For a free test...you're talking $1500 worth of screening. If my son was playing sports, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I think it's that important," said Price.

The next Heart of a Champion Day screenings will be held in the spring of 2013.

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