High School Football

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Heart Screenings Keep Frisco Student Athletes from Sudden Cardiac Arrest

November 01, 2018 - 12:54 pm

FRISCO (KRLD) - High school athletes in Frisco are having some heart tests done today, in hopes that what happened to another Texas student doesn't happen to them.

ECGs, or electrocardiogram tests, are being provided by the Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation, costing $20 each.

In May 2012, Cody was about to graduate high school in Crosby near Houston. He was in apparent good health at 6'9 and 289 pounds. He had a college football career ahead at Tarleton State.

And then he died in his sleep, due to sudden cardiac arrest.

His father Scott Stephens now heads the memorial foundation.  They provide ECGs to student athletes statewide. The tests look for structural problems in the heart, which could lead to irregular heartbeats or not pumping correctly.

"Current physicals find about 3 percent of abnormalities," says Stephens. "Adding an ECG bumps that up to 86 percent. The current tests are just not adequate to catch these things."

The process takes 5 minutes per student. The tests are sent to a cardiologist, who can flag anything suspicious. 

"A few times a year, I get people telling me that an ECG saved their child," says Stephens. "It gives me chills every time."

The Cody Stephens foundation has also done ECG tests for other North Texas school districts, including Arlington, Dallas, and McKinney.

Stephens says their aim is to make sure what happened to Cody never happens to another Texas student-athlete.

"I always tell people Cody doesn't need any more teammates in heaven."