Medical Group takes action to keep high school athletes healthy - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Medical Group takes action to keep high school athletes healthy

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The deaths of a high school rugby player in Colorado and a high school basketball star in Michigan within days of each other, is drawing attention to the problem of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. One group of physicians hopes to prevent a tragedy like those from happening in the Jonesboro area.

"We know that about one athlete every three days in this country will die from sudden cardiac arrest," says doctor Roosevelt Gilliam with Healthcare Medical Group. Which is why he says the medical group has taken action over the past four years, to help keep this scenario from happening to high school athletes in the region eight.

"We will screen over a thousand kids for a number of medical problems. We will also do an electro-cardiogram on every high school child in the county that comes through this screening process," says Gilliam.

Which includes 9th-12th grade athletes from: Jonesboro, Nettleton, Valley View, Westside, Brookland, and Ridgefield Christian School.

All at no cost. Instead, the screenings will be provided by volunteers. "While the cost is high, I think the cost of not doing it is much higher. Because if you wait until you have a problem, there's not enough time," says Gilliam.

There has been controversy over whether high schools should be required to conduct EKG testing on student athletes because of the cost and the risk of too many false positives.

"A lot of time if turns out to be nothing which is even better, but we are at least assured that we've done everything in our power that every child is given the best chance of participation with any injury," says Gilliam.

But Gilliam says it's not just limited to high school students. HMG also conducts free EKG tests to every student athlete at ASU.

The free physicals and EKG tests for the athletes will take place at the HMG Health & Fitness Expo April 16th and 17th.

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