Panther athletics offering second cardiovascular testing for HS and MS athletes May 22-23

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The Bullard Independent School District’s athletic department is offering students and parents another opportunity to participate in an event aimed at alerting them to any possible hidden heart conditions through the second cardiovascular testing event hosted by the Bullard High School athletic trainers this school year.

“This is a great opportunity for the Bullard High School athletic trainers to host an event dedicated to providing safety to our students and athletes,” said Jeff Shrode, Bullard ISD head athletic trainer. “With all of the cardiovascular issues and problems present in athletics or other activities, this is a step to make sure everyone is safe by examining students for any signs of trouble.”

In February, Shrode partnered with the Brandon Goyne Foundation and Wimbledon Athletics will provide cardiovascular testing on school grounds for athletes and students who participate in sports and high-endurance activities, such as marching band, cheerleading, drill team, and dance.

During the February testing event, a total of 10 athletes representing both Bullard High School and Bullard Middle School were screened, a number Shrode would like to see rise during the May testing times.

“Our turnout was a little bit low during the February testing event,” said Shrode. “We wanted to arrange a second outing because I feel it’s very important to give the kids of Bullard ISD, both middle school and high school students, a chance to get a cardiovascular screening so that if there’s a chance something is wrong, we can catch it early.”

According to information obtained by Bullard Banner News, the May cardiovascular testing times for students 12 years old or older will be Tuesday, May 22 at BHS and Wednesday, May 23 at BMS.

Tests performed on students during the event will include EKGs and echocardiograms, used to detect heart abnormalities that can cause sudden cardiac arrest and non-invasive vascular ultrasound to identify vascular conditions common to athletes (such as blood clots).

Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system or structure that abruptly stops the heartbeat, and is fatal in 95 percent of cases. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death on school campuses.

According to Shrode, the cardiovascular issues students may have, either while competing in athletics or just attending school day-to-day, can be hidden from view, such as the case in the death of Alto football player Cam’ron Mathews, who collapsed and died on the football field during a game against Carlisle.

“I’ve been doing this for about 25 years now and I’ve never had to experience a cardiovascular issue with a student,” said Shrode. “Bullard actually had one in the past before I started working here, and we all remember Cam’ron Mathews during an Alto football game. My goal is that I never want to have to experience that. With this testing opportunity, we just may be able to eliminate the possibility of having a cardiovascular issue.”

The American Heart Association reports that every three days in the U.S., a young athlete dies from sudden cardiac arrest. Studies indicate the risk for sudden cardiac arrest is three times higher in competitive athletes than in non-athletes.

For 80 percent of kids, sudden cardiac arrest will be the first sign something is wrong, according to AHA. The majority simply do not experience any symptoms indicating a heart problem. Others believe shortness of breath or dizziness is caused by exertion and will work harder to get stronger, putting their lives at risk. Published studies estimate that pre-participation screening (history and physical exam) only catches between three and 15 percent of cardiac problems.

The complete testing at the events per student could take between 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

In the case that a student is enrolled in an extracurricular activity has a positive test, the student will be removed from participation until cleared by a physician. The physician will be of the choosing of the student’s family and they will be financially responsible. Upon the district receiving clearance from the physician, the student will be able to return to participation.

There are no upfront costs for the testing. CAPPO Health will bill health insurance for the services provided, accepting what your carrier deems usual and customary.

As required by law, CAPPO Health will bill for the deductible or co-insurance, if applicable. If a balance is due, CAPPO Health can offer a payment plan or can eliminate the balance entirely for those in genuine hardship situations.

According to information made available by CAPPO Heath, there are a number of circumstances that could qualify you for a waiver, including saving for college. However, if you have a Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, and/or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, funds may be automatically deducted if a balance is due.

For more information about the BHS athletic training cardiovascular testing event, contact Shrode at (903) 894-3272 or jeff.shrode@bullardisd.net.

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