Doctors recommend cardiac screening for student athletes - WNEM TV 5

Doctors recommend cardiac screening for student athletes

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Student athletes across Mid-Michigan are gearing up for competitive seasons, but before they are scrutinized by their coaches they must be scrutinized by a doctor.

Guru Kandasamy works with student athletes as a resident physician at Genesys Medical Center.

"Family history. We want to find out if children are at risk or predisposed to having certain conditions. Mainly, what we're very concerned about is any cardiac conditions," Kandasamy said.

During physicals, student athletes will get hit with a litany of questions about their family history and it's important to know the answers. Parents, aunts, uncles, anyone with cardiac disease issues should be noted.

"We also like to ask about history of concussions or any head injuries because that's very important, especially now with a lot of the studies that are coming out with football players and hockey players with a lot of head injuries," Kandasamy said.

However, not everything can be detected in advance.

A Grand Ledge High School student died suddenly Monday after practice. The cause of his death is still being determined.

Doctors recommend children, whether they are athletes or not, see a primary care physician for routine physicals.

The entire point of sports physicals is to check for any risks that could come up on the field of during training. Still many sudden deaths do link to the same cause.

"It's usually cardiac related and there are lots of screening tests that can be done," Kandasamy said.

While a physical is required, a cardiac screening is not always mandatory. Doctors strongly recommend parents take the extra step.

"Basketball players, hockey players, football players, before camp, before school, just to get cleared to make sure they're not at risk for any of these injuries," Kandasamy said.

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