School is back in session and unfortunately that means thousands of young adults in the United States will die due to a hidden cardiac condition.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 will die of sudden cardiac arrest in the coming year.  It’s the leading cause of death on school property.

Count Shawn Afryl who grew up in Niles and played for the University of Illinois as one. He died during practice at Winona State in July. Jason Bitsko, center for Kent State, died in his sleep this August. Both are presumed cardiac causes. There will be others who die this fall, but hopefully fewer in Lake County, Illinois where the Max Schewitz Foundation provides free cardiac testing for high school students.

The Foundation kicks off its seventh year of Screens for Teens, an EKG-based cardiac screening program on Oct. 1, 2014 at Grayslake Central High School.  Students will receive a free EKG and some also a free echocardiogram.

The Foundation will offer heart checks to students at nine high schools during the 2014-15 school year, with the potential of reaching over 9,000 students. The program’s mission is to identify students who are at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) before they are stricken so they can obtain treatment.

2014-2015 Screens for Teens testing dates:

  • Grayslake Central High School 10/1/14 (download hard copies from home page)
  • Lake Forest High School 10/8/14
  • Glenbrook North High School 10/21 & 10/22
  • Lakes Community High School 10/29/14
  • Libertyville High School 11/5/14
  • Wauconda High School 11/12/14
  • Deerfield High School 12/3/14
  • New Trier High School–freshmen only*  12/10/14
  • Grayslake North High School (2/25/15)

Screens for Teens EKGs and echocardiograms are interpreted on site by a team of cardiologists under the direction of Dr. Eli Lavie, Medical Director of the Max Schewitz Foundation.  The Foundation’s hope is that EKG tests will become a part of student’s routine physical exams.

Online registration is available now, make sure to register your child!

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