Letter: Young athletes should get more screening

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am writing about young athletes dying while playing all across the United States.

I think teenagers both locally and across the country should get a more thorough medical exam from their primary care givers. Often, they just get a thump on the chest or are asked to breathe deeply a couple of times while the doctor listens with a stethoscope. Maybe their resting pulse is counted by a nurse.

I think all states should pass laws that require each student to do a stress test on a walking belt machine that gets progressively faster while he/she is hooked up to an electrocardiogram machine. The athletes should get wired up with electrical EKG pads, then they should be required to run up and down a basketball court or do a short football practice until they sweat.

They then should be asked to stop, then quickly be attached to an EKG machine that prints out a strip of paper.

I think that the doctors could then see anything abnormal in the heart and then tell the potential athlete not to sign up for sports activities.

I know it would be difficult for potential athletes to be told they couldn’t participate, but it’s better for them to discover a heretofore unknown heart defect or arrhythmia that could be fixed by surgery or medicine than to drop dead at a sports event.

Well, that’s my opinion.

— Tom L. Nanney


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