It's a heart disease that often goes undetected. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. On Saturday, one thousand area high school athletes will get screened for HCM. It’s a screening that could save their lives.
Anthony Bates had a lot to live for. The 20 year old was a football player for Kansas State University. But he died after a team practice. "When he finished his workout he got in his truck to drive home and two blocks from the campus he had a sudden cardiac arrest and crashed his vehicle," said Sharon Bates, Anthony’s Mother.
An autopsy revealed Anthony had HCM. It's a condition where a thickening in the heart muscle makes it difficult to pump blood properly. Anthony's mother never knew there was anything wrong with her son. "No one in our family has it and we had no symptoms at all for him,"
HCM is something your born with but its more common then you think. That's why they want to target as many local athletes as they can before they get out on the field.
Nine school districts are participating in the free screening. It won't cost students a dime. Finger lakes health is picking up the bill. "For someone that's never had it done before I think it gives us a wealth of information at a very easy price," said Dr. Joe Gomez.
Athletes work out a lot and that’s why if they have HCM it could be deadly. "Usually it's a situation where the heart rate goes up significantly and has a high amount of stress," said Dr. Gomez.
Every three days a high school athlete dies from sudden cardiac arrest. Sharon Bates is on a mission. She traveled all the way to Geneva from Arizona to share her story. She says if they find one kid that has a heart defect it's worth it. "We never know how much time we have on this earth. We never know if were going to have 20, 40, 60, 80 years but we should make every day count. And that's what he (Anthony) taught me," said Sharon.
Sharon will be at the community screening. Her hope is to spread awareness that could save lives.
The free screening is Saturday at the Geneva Community Center on 160 Carter Road. If your school district isn’t participating Finger Lakes Health will accept up to 300 walk-ins. It's for students in 7th through 12th grades. If you haven't pre-registered, you must be there between 9 and 10 AM to sign up.
Sharon Bates runs the Anthony Bates Foundation. To learn more log onto www.anthonybates.org