Free in-depth tests offered to student athletes to determine heart abnormalities

KPRC2 joins forces in interest of saving young lives

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter, Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group

HOUSTON - Student athletes dying because of hidden heart problems is a problem we hear about all too often. They are the types of issues the typical sports physicals can't detect.

KPRC Channel 2 News has partnered with Windsor Village United Methodist Church, the nonprofit group Who We Play For, The Cody Stephen’s Foundation and The Cameron Juniel Project to test hundreds of student athletes for hidden heart defects.

Because it's a matter of life and death, more than 570 student athletes from all over Houston are undergoing in-depth heart tests to determine if they have any hidden heart abnormalities that could kill them on the athletic field.

Katrina Spencer said she took her 14-year-old son, Spencer, a star football, track and basketball player, to the event because she realizes too many young people are dying needlessly.

“My son plays multiple sports and I wanted to make sure his heart is okay to continue to do sports … it’s too important … it’s life and death,” Katrina said.

Even at his age, Spencer said he understands the danger.

“I want to continue my career being an athlete and I need to know, I need to get my heart checked,” Spencer said.

The massive heart screening effort is made possible by a donation from the Cody Stephens Foundation.

The in-depth tests that could be very expensive for parents are offered for free in the interest of saving young lives.

All day long, test results were read and recorded by Dr. Thomas DeBauche, a heart specialist with Cypress Cardiology.

In all, 15 student athletes were found to have heart abnormalities that could be serious, even deadly.

All of those students have already been scheduled for further tests and one-on-one appointments with DeBauche within the next 10 days.

“Out of about 570 kids, we found about 15 with potential serious problems,” DeBauche said.

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