A Plane Crash, A Heart Crash

It’s 10:50 PM, the night before our second Downingtown screening.  We’ll screen about 300 kids.  Three of them will likely find a heart condition.  This is the normal routine.  Review email folder for cancellations.  Update registration lists.  Make corrections to folders and forms.  Load up the van with equipment.

However, this time around, the cancellations made me pause because of the reasons that some of the parents provided.  In the past, I probably wasn’t given a reason – just a “sorry can’t make it.”  The reasons prove to me that we have so much work to do to about raising awareness about the risks of sudden cardiac arrest and death.

It went something like this . . . my child can no longer attend the screening because his/her game got rescheduled and he/she cannot miss the game.  How does that strike you?

What does this analogy do to your perspective?  Your child has a lacrosse tournament in Florida on Sunday.  The flight leaves tomorrow.  The airline tells you that the plane is 7 – 10 years old and the engine has never been inspected.  The airline wants to check the engine, but that means the flight will be delayed and your child will miss the tournament.  You convince the airline to check the engine on Monday.

I’m pretty sure that most parents are not putting their child on that plane, even though the likelihood of anyone dying in a plane crash is 1:11,000,000.  By conservative accounts, the likelihood of a child dying from sudden cardiac arrest is 1:300,000.

I’m not judging.  I’ve declined to participate in lots of stuff that others deem important.  To me, it was just a lesser priority.  I’m suggesting that this shouldn’t be.  Getting your child’s heart checked needs to be more important than participating in a regular season game.  It should actually be part of the pre-participation sports physical.

I’m realizing that I need to do more to raise awareness so that parents can appreciate this real threat.