by T-Ann Pierce, volunteer

As volunteers, our main objective is to give as many EKGs as possible, but we cannot help but walk away from each testing without personal stories.

Lake Forest Academy provided many such stories. With an international student body, there were many kids who gave their weight in kilos and height in centimeters. Thank goodness for conversion apps!

One teary-eyed freshman seemed particularly nervous before her screening. It became clear homesickness, not fear, was getting the best of her. Having a quiet moment to pause during her EKG and receive compassion and encouragement from the volunteers was exactly what she needed. She left the testing booth without a trace of tears and with a renewed sense of fortitude.

Mary Beth was particularly impressed with a strapping senior football player who stood at the front of, shall I say, a ‘lively’ crowd of boys waiting to be screened. Figuring he might be able to calm the masses, Mary Beth, in her no nonsense style, told the football player, ‘Tell them to back up and shut up!’

The young man turned to the crowd of boys and politely bellowed, ‘Please take three feet back and lower your voices!’ If this young man wasn’t off to play football for Penn State next fall, Mary Beth would hire him as her interpreter as he did a tidy job of translating ‘what she said’ into ‘what she meant to say’!

Screening went very smoothly. Of the 284 LFA students tested this week, two kids had abnormal EKGs. One was cleared by an echocardiogram. One requires a repeat echo and EKG within three years, but neither was restricted from sports. Thirteen kids received echoes, but mainly basketball players who are at greatest risk statistically.

We would like to thank Lake Forest Academy’s Director of Athletics, Darrin Madeley and Assistant Director Becky Arrowood for giving us the opportunity to test their athletes. We will return later in the season to test the rest of the student body.

Three cheers for Lake Forest Academy, which is our only testing school that makes EKG screening mandatory for all students! If only every school could follow their lead.

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