How does a Who We Play For screening work?

• Coordinate program outreach through school nurse or athletic trainer
• Who We Play For team and school wellness program perform screening
• Results are interpreted by WWPF cardiologists and distributed through the school nurse or athletic trainer
•Students requiring follow up are connected with the appropriate care
‍•We partner with school and select the best date and time to screen

Why should my child get a heart screening?

A simple heart screening can help detect problems before they become major medical issues. While we recommend all student athletes get an ECG, you should definitely be screened if you:
• compete in high impact sports that increases your heart rate for an extended period
• have a family history indicating that there is a heart disease risk
• get dizziness during athletics
• experience fainting spells or weakness while participating
• get shortness of breath that does not clear quickly
• get chest pain while participating

How is the heart screening done?

Cardiac screening can detect a variety of potentially catastrophic genetic diseases. The simplest level of testing is an ECG, which looks at the electrical signals of the heart. An ECG involves placing electrodes on the chest around the heart to record those signals. The test is easy, painless, non- invasive, and takes less than 5 minutes. It does not involve needles, blood work, radiation exposure or sedation.

How often do you find a problem?

On average 97% of all those screened have a normal ECG and are considered at low risk for cardiac issues. In less than 3%, results are inconclusive or suggest something that requires further testing. Most often an Echocardiogram (Echo) is recommended. The Echo is used to get a picture of the heart similar to an ultrasound to look at a baby during pregnancy. The Echo looks for valve and vein structure, muscle thickness, and proper operation of the heart. Most rarely, but most importantly, our statistics show that 1 in 1000 of those we screen will be flagged as high risk with a severe abnormality on their ECG.

Will I see the results of my child's ECG?

Yes. The interpreted ECGs will be returned to the school within 3 business days with a designation of low risk, follow-up or high risk, as well as information about particular ECG findings, when applicable.

Who reads the ECG?

Every ECG is read by board-certified Cardiologists who are among the most experienced and qualified doctors in the country. Their experience means more accurate interpretations.

What if my child needs a follow-up?

An abnormal ECG will be flagged for follow up, which means additional testing is needed to see what is causing that abnormality – think of it as a yellow caution light. It will include documentation on what the potential problem might be. Even if your child is flagged for a follow-up, he or she can continue participating in sports and other activities. You’ll just need to have your child visit a Cardiologist within 3 months for follow up.

What if my child is considered high risk?

If your child is flagged as high risk, it is like a red traffic light. He or she should not participate in sports or high-energy activities in any way (practice, games, scrimmages, etc.) until he or she has seen a specialist and received clearance or treatment. If you don’t have one already, we will offer the contact information of Cardiologists in your area.

How much will this cost?

It’s just $20 per student.  A typical doctor’s appointment with ECG normally costs $150 and up, we area happy to offer families this important heart screening at a huge savings.

Isn't this covered with the annual physical?

The annual physical exam asks family history questions, and requires a doctor to listen to the student’s heart with a stethoscope. Studies have shown that this is just 1% effective in catching heart issues. An ECG can detect up to 95% of the conditions that cause SCA.

Do we need to do this every year?

Cardiac screening should be part of a physical at least once while in middle school and once in high school. If your child is considered low risk then those are the only two times recommended to get an ECG before adulthood.

Are boys and girls screened together?

No, arrangements are made for privacy. Boys will remove their shirts. Girls should wear a regular bra, which will not need to be removed.

How can I find out more information?

Email info@whoweplayfor.org to find out more.

WHAT IS SCA?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it's not treated within minutes.

SCA is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by a blockage that restricts blood flow to part of the heart muscle. During a heart attack, the heart usually doesn't suddenly stop beating.

People who have heart disease are at higher risk for SCA. However, SCA often happens in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors for SCA. Many people think that SCA is just an adult thing, but in fact SCA is the #1 killer of student athletes. The good news is that the majority of conditions that cause SCA are detectable and treatable.

SYMPTOMS

Fainting or Seizures

Fainting is the #1 warning sign of SCA and usually occurs immediately after physical activity or as a result of emotional excitement/ distress/ surprise. Sometimes, it may look like a seizure. Don’t assume it is from exhaustion or dehydration.

Chest Pains

If you or your child experience chest pains, that’s a warning sign!

Unusually Rapid Heart Rate

If your heart is racing or it feels like it is going to jump out of your chest, your body is telling you something may be wrong.

Unexplained Family Death

If a family member (under 50 years old) dies/died suddenly, and the cause of death is unknown, it may have been due to an unidentified heart condition.

Unexplained Shortness of Breath

It’s natural to lose your breath during exercise. However, if you are experiencing shortness of breath during normal activity or your breathloss is severe during or after exercise, you should have it checked by a physician.

Extreme Fatigue

Of course you’ll get tired when you are playing sports, but if you are more sluggish than everyone else or you feel like you don’t have any energy, check it out.

Dizziness

Sometimes being dizzy means that you got up too fast. It could also mean that there is something wrong with your heart. If you are getting dizzy often, check it out.

STRUCTURAL HEART DEFECTS

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

A condition in which the heart muscle becomes thick. Often, only one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts. The thickening can make it harder for blood to leave the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. It also can make it harder forthe heart to relax and fill with blood.

Left Ventricular Non-Compaction

A heart muscle condition in which the muscular wall of the main pumping chamber of the heart (the left ventricle) appears to be spongy and “non-compacted.”

Anomalous Coronary Artery

This artery delivers blood to the heart. When it is malformed or abnormal, the flow of oxygen to the heart is compromised.

Marfan Syndrome

A genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue which can causean aortic enlargement.

STRUCTURAL HEART DEFECTS

Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW)

An extra electrical pathway into the heart creates a very fast heartbeat.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia

A disorder in which normal myocardium is replaced by fibrofatty tissue. This disorder usually involves the right ventricle, but the left ventricle and septum also maybe affected.

Complete Heart Block

Occurs when the electrical signal can’t pass normally from the atria, the heart’s upper chambers, to the ventricles, or lower chambers.

Long QT Syndrome (LQTS)

A heart rhythm disorder that can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. These rapid heartbeats may trigger a sudden fainting spell or seizure. In some cases, your heart may beat erratically for so long that it can cause sudden death.

Brugada Syndrome

A potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. It’s characterized by a specific abnormal heartbeat called a Brugada sign, which is detected by an electrocardiogram test. Brugada syndrome is frequently an inherited condition.