Program to supplement free sports physical and heart screening program as part of local non-profits Positive and Safe Sports (P.A.S.S.) Initiative
Las Vegas, NV - August 29th, 2013 – Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a scary thought when you think of it in children. Even scarier is the risk of SCA for children under the age of 18 is increased by ten-fold when they participate in strenuous activities like sports and lack a yearly pre-participation exam (also known as a Sports Physical) or fail to properly disclose family and/or personal history of risk factors on PPE forms.
Even the ones who do get a proper PPE can still suffer from SCA if something is missed or no signs or symptoms point to a risk of SCA. As a secondary precaution it is recommend that coaches or someone within a sports organization be certified in CPR and AED.
All area schools require their coaches to be certified or have someone on staff that is but unfortunately that isn’t always the case with most sports organizations outside of the school system, such as independent recreational sports leagues.
There is also no requirement for children who participate in such organizations to have a yearly sports physical.
The LVSportz Foundation, a local non-profit organization, is hoping to change all that with a new program they are launching over the next month called the “Game-Saver CPR/AED/First Aid Program” which is part of their Positive and Safe Sports (P.A.S.S.) Initiative.
Brian Bartolome, Executive Director of the LVSportz Foundation stated, “We are putting our kids at unnecessary risk by not requiring such minor things of local organizations. Our schools require coaches to have this training as well as access to AED’s but there are no such requirements for sports organizations outside of the school system.”
The program features two options: The first is a low-cost American Red Cross CPR, AED, First Aid Certification Course for coaches, team moms and league administrators. The course is only $30 for all three and LVSF doesn’t profit one cent from it. The second is a free non-certification program where LVSF trains student athletes ages 10 and older in Hands-Only CPR and AED basics.
“What makes our program unique is we also provide a sports safety awareness and prevention module in every course we do that is taught at the direction of certified athletic trainers and sports medicine specialists,” said Bartolome. “We talk to the coaches and kids about the awareness of issues such as concussion, MRSA, Overuse Injuries and a number of other things that can adversely affect their participation.”
Through the program they stress the importance of speaking up and handling such issues promptly as to prevent further damage. Unfortunately many student athletes may be aware of such things like concussions but many still tend not to say something for fear of missing games or losing a position which can have deadly consequences.
The program is meant to supplement their recently launched Free Sports Physical and Heart Screening program which officially launched on August 24th when LVSF conducted its first free sports physical and heart screening event for local student athletes that was held in conjunction with First Person Care Clinics, Complete Medical Consultants and Glen Lerner & Associates.
During that event 57 children received sports physicals of which 22 opted for or were required to take the optional EKG portion of the screenings. Out of those 22, 3 had abnormal EKG’s that required additional monitoring and follow-up by a cardiologist and one was completely red flagged as a severe risk of sudden cardiac arrest risk with an immediate referral to a cardiologist.
Those numbers are scary considering that they only saw 57 children and for some of them it wasn’t even required for them to take the exam to participate.
People are encouraged to visit the LVSportz Foundation’s Website at http://lvsportz.com/gamesaver for more information on their CPR/AED/First Aid program and http://lvsportz.com/ppe for information on their free sports physical and heart screening program.
Additional Information on Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
It's estimated that more than 100 young athletes die each year in sports-related incidents, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association projects that nearly half of those deaths are attributed to sudden cardiac arrest. Some causes of SCA include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which involves the thickening of the heart muscle, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. Along with other cardiac problems, HCM is the overwhelming cause of sudden death in young athletes.
It is recommend by the NATA, the American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Heart Association that every child has an annual Pre-Participation Physical Exam (PPE) prior to participating in strenuous exercise or competitive sports, regardless if it is mandatory or not, to prevent sudden cardiac death and other major health issue on the playing fields.
A PPE can help identify congenital heart defects that can lead to SCA as well as any other musculoskeletal, spinal, dermatological or other health problems or risk factors a child may have. A PPE is different from a standard physical. The PPE specifically focuses on a child’s well-being as it relates to playing a sport. It's more limited than a regular physical, but it's a lot more specific about athletic issues.