Long Island hospital offers free cardiac screenings for high school athletes

Sam Ryan Image
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Hospital offers free cardiac screenings for high school athletes
Sam Ryan has the details.

ROSLYN, Long Island (WABC) -- Jocelyn Schadler runs cross country and track at Oyster Bay High School. While she focuses on her mile time, her mom understands the added stress young athletes may endure. So on one evening, they scheduled a free cardiac screening at St. Francis Hospital for peace of mind.

"I have no heart issues, but since I'm constantly active, just want to have it checked out and make sure everything is ok so I don't have to worry about it in the future," said Jocelyn.

"It's very important to know that everything is good and that we won't have to deal with any sudden issues down the road.

A program that is now in its 14th year was started by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Sean Levchuck and St. Francis. Students undergo an EKG and an echocardiogram of the heart. With recent congenital abnormalities and in some instances, tragedies in the headlines, the program has generated increased interest.

"Now we're booked through this year and if I open up the fall of next year, people have realized the importance of it and how important it is to screen your child for sudden cardiac death and risk factors," said Dr. Levchuck.

It is not uncommon for irregularities to be detected during these exams.

"I always tell everybody about 1-2 per year will have immediate needs that need to be addressed," Dr. Levchuck added.

Anyone who is of high school age is eligible for these screenings. You can have a normal screening when you're in third grade, but the heart can change when puberty hits.

Jocelyn got an all-clear with her screening and can focus on her return to the track.

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