Ever wonder why a seemingly healthy teen athlete dies during play? He or she usually had an undiagnosed heart condition.
It’s easy to blame the heat or not enough water, but teammates are exposed to the same heat, and it’s not uncommon for many teen athletes to be short on hydration.
Yet if heat, exercise and dehydration were causing all of these teen deaths during sports practice or play, there certainly would be far more of these shocking deaths.
When a teen athlete drops dead during sport from a heart problem, this is exceptionally rare, relative to the number of kids who play sports — but often makes the news.
The rarity is no consolation to the parents.
There are five dangerous heart conditions that, if undiagnosed, can lead to death or debilitating symptoms such as fainting, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Whether the incidence rate of sudden cardiac death in teenage athletes is one in 5,000 or one in 50 is beside the point, because screening is so incredibly easy and doesn’t even take that long.
Once the heart condition is treated, the teen can return to play (depending on the condition), or adhere to guidelines set by their cardiologist to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
How many stories have you read so far about a teenager who suddenly passes out on the court or in the playing field, and ends up dead from cardiac arrest?
The common denominator among these cases is that the parents were unaware of a pre-existing heart problem that was present from birth.
AugustHeart offers free screenings for teen athletes for five dangerous heart conditions that can be deadly if not treated and managed.
Five Dangerous Heart Conditions
Teen Athletes Should Be Screened For
Aortic root aneurysm
A rare condition in which the section of the aorta (great blood vessel of the heart) is enlarged.
At rest or during play, the bulging, weakened portion of the vessel can dissect, causing internal hemorrhaging.
The cardiac muscle is enlarged and thus cannot pump adequately. The incidence is about one in 2,000.
The bottom chambers of the heart are too thick. The incidence is about one in 500.
Long QT syndrome
A structurally normal heart takes longer than it should to recharge before the next beat. As innocuous as this may sound, it can result in sudden cardiac death. Incidence is about one in 5,000.
Abnormal electrical activity of the heart leads to sudden rapid beats. Estimated incidence is one in 1,500.
Now you might think that these incidence rates are too low to worry about, but the parents of teen athletes who died from these undiagnosed heart conditions believe that their child would still be alive had a diagnosis been made during a 20 minute screening.