As part of the GAA’s on-going commitment for player welfare they now advise that the most effective way to identify risk is for all players over the age of 14 to undergo cardiac screening on one occasion.
Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives is a mobile heart screening service, set up by former Armagh GAA players John and Tony Mc Entee, providing cardiac screening to help prevent sudden deaths in young people who may have “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome”.
They screen males and females aged from 14-35. The lower age limit is 14 years, as the child’s heart is not fully formed until age 14. If screened before this age many more tests would be listed as abnormal, causing undue further testing and increased anxiety. Our upper age limit is 35, as above this age the person is more likely to have problems due to heart disease, rather than issues associated with sudden cardiac death. (They can screen sports people slightly over this age as long as they have no history of heart disease.)
Just to give you some concise information the screening programme consists of the following:
- ECG and Questionnaire @ initial screening session
- Consultant Cardiologist’s report on ECG. ( Dr McGlinchey is the Consultant Cardiologist employed and he will be adhering to (2007) ESC guidelines for screening athletes with specific reference to SCD screening.)
- Echocardiogram, should this be required. This will take place at a later date.
- Referral to appropriate medical facility, if required.
- Those requiring follow up will receive a phone call, outlining exactly what is involved.
- Personal results letter to each individual screened and their GP if required.
The cost of this screening is €45.00 per person (which includes all of the above including an Echocardiogram, should it be required). It is important to note that an Echocardiogram can cost up to €300, we include this in the €45 cost, should it be required.
They have recently employed the services of Mr Oisin McConville, a trained counsellor (IAAAC approved). He will be available should anyone be informed that they can no longer participate in sport, due to cardiac irregularities. Thankfully this is a rare occurrence, but they want to ensure that there is support there for the individual should it be required.
It is extremely important to become proactive, rather than reactive to ensure the welfare of your club members. Most of us witnessed the terrible footage of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest on the football pitch 2 years ago. It is essential that any abnormalities are discovered now, before it’s too late. The 9th anniversary of Cormac McAnallen, is also a reminder to us all to take action to prevent these deaths.
Lads, don’t be the ‘big man’ and say you don’t need it or I feel fine. If screenings like this can save lives then it’s worth it. Therefore, if any player or any person would like further information regarding the screening then please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself. If anyone is interested then please register for the screening by contacting myself, Michael Carroll on 086-1041165.