About cardiac screenings for young athletes

Student-athletes have taken all appointment spots for upcoming free high school athlete cardiac screenings at Center Grove High School.

The screenings are provided by Giving Hearts a Hand, an awareness group that helps facilitate cardiac screening for high school athletes. The March 16 date is full, with 40 students on a waiting list.

Here are five things to know about the organization and what it does.

What is Giving Hearts a Hand?

The organization promotes heart awareness through funding cardiac screenings for problems high school athletes might not be aware of. The group makes electrocardiograms and echocardiograms, free of charge, for student athletes.

Why did the group begin?

Founder Doug Meyer was diagnosed when he was 15 years old with a cardiac condition that causes a thickening of the heart tissue, so he wanted to help other kids who were at risk. Then, after hearing about an athlete in Michigan who died from a cardiac event while playing basketball, Meyer and his wife decided to start the group so that athletes can become aware of potential dangers.

Why did the spots fill up so fast this year?

Meyer said word of mouth has gotten the message out. The state also has taken action to make families aware of potential threats with the passage of House Bill 1290, which requires that families are given information about sudden cardiac arrest, he added.

What students should be tested?

Meyer recommends all student athletes get the screenings, but parents should make the decision.

How do I make an appointment if openings become available?

Call Meyer at 502-5652 or email givingheartsahand@gmail.com. Organizers are trying to expand appointment availability for March 16 or add another date for screenings.

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Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at aherkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2712.