One year ago, Jeff Green underwent surgery to correct a heart condition. This condition could’ve caused him to drop dead from sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, a few years ago, the NBA became the first professional sports league to institute a heart screening program. As such, the condition was detected, and tragedy averted.
What a difference time makes. Exactly twenty years ago, another Celtic’s star, Reggie Lewis, dropped dead from sudden cardiac arrest. At the time, we were much more ignorant about the dangers that undetected heart conditions posed in athletes. At the time, no professional leagues were conducting heart screenings.
It is indisputable that the NBA’s policy to check hearts saves lives. In fact, last year, three NBA players were sidelined with heart conditions detected through the screening process.
Last weekend, a sixth grader in Buford, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, dropped dead from sudden cardiac arrest. Six months earlier, an eleventh grader from the same town suffered the same fate. Both students played basketball.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the #1 cause of death of student athletes so why are we only checking the hearts of our professional athletes? Aren’t the little hoops stars from Buford entitled to the same level of protection as the stars from the Celtic’s nation?