Fainting on American Idol

Two girls, Imani Handy and Symone Black, fainted this year during Hollywood Week. During an interview with Jay Leno, Jennifer Lopez commented “they were just tired, the pressure, something.”  This is not a shot at Jennifer, however, her remarks accurately reflect our societal view of fainting. Whether it is “nerves” on the stage or “exhaustion” on the playing field, we casually dismiss fainting.

The medical term for fainting is syncope.  I’d never heard of this term until my son died suddenly.  I also never knew that fainting is the #1 warning sign of sudden cardiac arrest.

When someone faints during a stressful or strenuous situation, they should be examined by a cardiologist. Of course, not all fainting episodes are a sign of horrible things to come, but why are we taking chances?

Think about it.  If your car stalled on the way to a performance or game, you’d probably take your car into the shop and have it checked out.  Why wouldn’t you do the same thing when your heart stalls?

I don’t know the reason that these girls fainted.  Hopefully, it was something minor like dehydration.  However, these episodes should not be dismissed or taken lightly.  They certainly should not be exploited for commercial gain.  There is enough drama on American Idol without the producers choosing to play and replay these events.

American Idol is missing a tremendous opportunity to educate its viewers about a warning sign to a condition that kills thousands of kids every year – sudden cardiac arrest.  The very same kids that probably tune in to watch American Idol every week.

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