It was the best $60 that Scott and Sarah Lepke ever spent.
In November 2010, the Lepkes opted to pay the extra money for an optional athletic heart screening for their son, Matt. The ultrasound test, through Transmed Inc.’s Screening America program, was offered by the Beresford School District. The Lepkes’ decision was more about supporting the sports program at the school, where Scott was the high school principal at the time, than it was about any concern for their son’s health.
“We never, ever thought that there was a problem with him. He’d been an athlete his whole life,” said Sarah of her 12-year-old son.
But the ultrasound revealed a life-threatening defect in Matt’s heart – a large hole between his left and right atrium that had been there since birth. So large, in fact, that it went undetected during routine physicals that might have caught smaller, noisier heart murmurs.
“That’s the thing with murmurs – the bigger they are, the less likely you are to catch them,” said Scott, who has been superintendent of the Custer School District since July. “His was so big, that it wasn’t making a noise.”