By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of students are expected to turn out on Saturday, along with hundreds of medical volunteers. The health screening is designed to prevent those tragic stories we’ve heard about student athletes who suddenly die from an undiagnosed condition or have issues from concussions that are missed.
Kevin Caldwell, the quarterback at Benjamin Franklin High School, makes sure to always get the special health check up every year. He says, “I think they’re very helpful, football is tough sport, it’s good to get checked out.”
The non-profit Athlete Health Organization provides the free screenings every year to underserved student athletes, who usually only get a basic check up to be cleared to play. “We’re talking about not just primary care, pulmonary, orthopedics, concussion evaluations and advanced heart screenings. This is invaluable,” says Jefferson Cardiologist David Shipon. He’s among hundreds of medical experts who volunteer to do the screenings, designed to prevent sudden cardiac deaths and other incidents that can be caused by undiagnosed problems. “To save one life is a blessing,” says Dr. Shipon.
Alberta Gibbons was diagnosed with a heart issue at a screening last year. The Ben Franklin High School volleyball player had no idea she has a tiny hole in her heart. Doctors said she was ok for her to play, as long as she doesn’t over exert herself.
Robert Coleman Athletic Director for the Philadelphia School District says most of the students wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get the comprehensive screenings that include electrocardiograms. He says, “The importance is providing something that’s not affordable and make it attainable for our students.”
The screenings take place Saturday, May 31st at the Liacouras Center on North Broad Street.
For more information, visit: http://athletehealth.org/wps/