Cincinnati Children's Hospital studies "sudden death" in athletes

Published: Nov. 14, 2011 at 2:19 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hundreds of student athletes are being screened for a potential life threatening heart disease. The screenings are part of a research project at Cincinnati Children's Hospital to determine if new measures should be taken to help prevent sudden death due to cardiac illnesses.

Doctors say its impossible to tell who has these heart problems just by looking at people on the outside. Family heart history plays a big role in the identification process and some additional testing may be needed.

"When an event occurs when an athlete dies suddenly, while it is a rare event, it is one that causes a lot of emotion and a lot of heartache," said Children's cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Anderson. "We hope to create a program where we can identify athletes who are at risk of sudden death - those that have these rare heart problems - so that we can prevent events like sudden death events from occurring."

The screenings were conducted in memory of Jose Cerda Navarro, a senior at Sycamore High School who died suddenly during swim practice in 2010.

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