ROCHESTER  HILLS (WWJ) – Thousands of high school athletes along with their parents showed up at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, for a free heart screening hosted by volunteer health professionals, including cardiologists from Beaumont Hospital.

WWJ’s Chrystal Knight spoke with Dr. Almany who is a cardiologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.  Dr. Almany says that this program began after a popular Detroit Red Wing collapsed on the bench and was revived.

“When Jiri Fischer of the Red Wings, dropped dead and was resuscitated,  and all the press that started, you know, ‘how can a world-class athlete have this?’ and we started saying, kids get heart disease, just like adults do, we’ve (tested) seven thousand kids at this point,” said Dr. Almany.

“The one we are really looking for is what’s called a hyper-trophic cardiomyopathy, and that’s were they get a thickening of the heart wall, and when they do strenuous activities  the heart is so thick that the blood can’t go out the aortic values and they can drop dead,” said Dr. Almany.

Every 1 in 500 athletes may have this condition says Dr. Almany.

WWJ caught up with some parents and students that were on hand for the heart health screening.

“I just lost my mother to a heart attack two months ago,” said one woman,” it’s just best considering we have hyper-tension in my family, and it makes me feel better knowing, the he (her son) is getting this done.”

“My daughter plays basketball, and she was just diagnosed with exercise induced asma, so when I heard about what  Beaumont was putting on I thought, ‘what a great idea’, stated another mom.

Cory Wheaten of Milford plays varsity football, he says his coach suggested that he get screened.

“It kind of scares me because of all the heart problems that have come up in my family, and I just don’t want it to happen to me,” said Wheaten.

The five-year old program is designed to reduce the alarming number of student athletes who suddenly die from hidden heart problems.


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