HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. According to Parent Heart Watch, Sudden Cardiac arrest is the number one killer in student-athletes.
“I was in gym class, I was playing with my friends, we were playing a basketball game, and all of the sudden I collapsed and needed CPR for 13 minutes,” said Isaiah Bangoura.
Isaiah was 10 years old at the time. This happened in January 2022 at his school in York County.
“Right now, I am going to start to try to bring awareness to every youth kid possible,” said Isaiah. On Saturday, about 200 students were at Steelton-Highspire High School in Steelton for a free heart screening clinic.
“Making sure that the kids get these electrocardiograms really could mean the difference between life and death,” said Peyton Walker Foundation Executive Director Julie Walker.
Walker started The Peyton Walker Foundation after losing her daughter Peyton Walker in 2013 at 19 to sudden cardiac arrest.
“Once that happened to us and we started researching cardiac arrest, we learned so many parents have no idea that their kids have these heart issues. And we knew we had an opportunity to really make an impact and a difference and save other families from this heartache,” said Walker.
During the clinic students ages 10-22 went through the screening process. It included a heart murmur evaluation, checking your vitals, learning CPR, using an AED, and getting an EKG.
“And it’s because our sports physicals and our well-child visits don’t include an electrocardiogram. And these are the hidden heart issues that we find that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest,” said Walker.
“I think some of the symptoms that families should recognize…If the kids having chest pain or they pass out doing exercise,” said UPMC Harrisburg Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Sunil Patel.
If you missed this free heart screening clinic, Walker says there will be more throughout the year.