It's real. Sudden Cardiac Death in teenage athletes is very real.
In fact over the last week two high school athletes, a 14-year-old track star from Virginia and a 14-year-old football player from California, both died right in the middle of practicing with their teams.
That's why on Saturday, Local 2 teamed up with Texas Children's Hospital and Championship Hearts Foundation of Austin, Texas to offer more than 400 Houston area, high school athletes expensive, in-depth heart screens, absolutely free.
The tests include a family history questionnaire, blood pressure check, electrocardiogram and echocardiogram.
Leanna Mouton, a 16-year-old varsity tennis player, said her cousin Jason was the picture of vibrant health and an all-star basketball player before he suddenly died while playing a game of pick-up basketball at Blinn College last October. That's why she came to the event on Saturday.
"He was like a big brother to me. We went to school together. We did everything together," said Mouton. "I just want to know that I'm all right, that I don't have to have any restrictions on my activities."
"This is a matter of life and death," said Leanna's mother Delia Mouton. "We need these tests to understand what's going on inside the bodies of our young people, of our children."
If parents were forced to pay for in-depth testing like this, it could cost as much as $800 per child, but thanks to Local 2's generous partners, Texas Children's Hospital and Championship Hearts Foundation, all of this testing was conducted free of charge.
This is the first time Local 2 has participated in a massive, teen heart screening event like this one, but we hope to launch another one in the coming months.
Stay tuned to Local 2 News for our next Teen Heart Screen and information on how you can register your teenage athlete.