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Record Number of Student Athletes Participate in Heart of a Champion Day
Of the 421 student athletes screened the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Heart of a Champion Day screening, 24 were referred for further medical evaluation.

Heart of a Champion Day athletic screenings in 2013 are setting records for both the number of students registering and the number who are being screened. The free program for high school student-athletes was pioneered by Carolinas HealthCare System and is being offered at four locations in the Charlotte region – Fort Mill, SC, Lincolnton, Charlotte and Indian Trail. All but the Indian Trail event have been completed.

The program screens for heart abnormalities that could lead to sudden death using an electrocardiogram and, if needed, an echocardiogram. Neither heart test is offered during a routine athletic screening. Also included are orthopedic and general medical screenings. All three Heart of a Champion Day screenings saw increases in the number of participants.

  • The Fort Mill Heart of a Champion Day saw nearly double the number of students than last year. Carolinas HealthCare System screened 456 student-athletes. Fourteen student-athletes and their families were notified of abnormal screening results and were referred for further medical evaluation and management of these conditions before being cleared to play sports. Conditions included Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, premature ventricular contractions, elevated blood pressure and orthopedic concerns.
  • The Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln Heart of a Champion Day screening saw a more than 50 percent increase in participation. Four hundred twenty-one student-athletes were screened, with 24 referred for further medical evaluation for abnormal screening results including seven orthopedic, two cardiac and 15 general medicine concerns.
  • The Heart of a Champion Day for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools screened 1,428 student-athletes with the help of 350 volunteers. Fifty-five student-athletes were referred for further medical evaluation. Conditions discovered included 16 heart issues, 8 orthopedic issues and 31 general medical concerns. This year, for the first time, the Charlotte Heart of a Champion Day screening included dietician consultations, which 161 student-athletes completed.

The final screening for 2013, at Union West Medical Plaza in Indian Trail, will take place on Saturday, June 8.

The program is directed by David Price, MD, co-director of primary care sports medicine at Carolinas Medical Center, and Nicholas Sliz, MD, FACC, pediatric cardiologist at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.

Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, attended the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools screening on June 1.

After being piloted for two years, Heart of a Champion Day screenings began for area public schools in 2008. Through the volunteer efforts of more than 650 healthcare professionals, the screenings -- valued at more than $1,500 per student-athlete -- are provided to our community student-athletes at no cost.

"I participate in the Heart of a Champion screening because I feel it is an important way to diagnose cardiac conditions in the young athlete that might otherwise not be identified with a typical examination," said Dr. Sliz. "By identifying these conditions, we can recommend the appropriate treatments and lifestyle modifications to ensure that they can continue to participate in athletics safely and live normal lives."

Five Carolinas HealthCare System hospitals -- Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, CMC-Lincoln, CMC-Union and CMC-Pineville -- are sponsoring the screenings along with Carolinas HealthCare System's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Sports Medicine & Injury Care, and OrthoCarolina.

Those providing financial or material support include Kohl’s Cares, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, Levine’s Children’s Hospital, Carolina Panther Thomas Davis’s Defending Dreams Foundation, OrthCarolina, Philips, General Electric, Welch-Allyn, Coca Cola, Jason’s Deli and Morrison Catering.

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