Submitted by the Max Schewitz Foundation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 2,000 Americans under the age of 25 will die of sudden cardiac arrest in the coming year. It’s the leading cause of death on school property.
Count Shawn Afryl who grew up in Niles and played for the University of Illinois as one. He died during practice at Winona State in July. Jason Bitsko, center for Kent State, died in his sleep this August. Both are presumed cardiac causes. There will be others who die this fall, but hopefully fewer in Lake County, Illinois where the Max Schewitz Foundation provides free cardiac testing for high school students.
The Foundation kicks off its seventh year of Screens for Teens, an EKG-based cardiac screening program on Oct. 1, 2014 at Grayslake Central High School. Students will receive a free EKG and some also a free echocardiogram.
The Foundation will offer heart checks to students at nine high schools during the 2014-15 school year, with the potential of reaching over 9,000 students. The program’s mission is to identify students who are at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) before they are stricken so they can obtain treatment.
“There are children with undiagnosed heart conditions at every school. It’s just a matter of screening to find them,,” said Mary Beth Schewitz, executive director of The Max Schewitz Foundation. “Online registration is now open, and we urge parents to visit www.ekgyourteen.org to register their children for this painless, quick, and non-invasive test.”
In 2005, Max died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 20 from an undiagnosed cardiac condition. Like so many others victims of SCD, Max had no previous medical conditions or warning signs. If he had been diagnosed, life-saving treatments could have been implemented.
Screens for Teens EKGs and echocardiograms are interpreted on site by a team of cardiologists under the direction of Dr. Eli Lavie, Medical Director of the Max Schewitz Foundation. The Foundation’s hope is that EKG tests will become a part of student’s routine physical exams.
2014-2015 Screens for Teens testing dates:
Grayslake Central High School 10/1/14
- Lake Forest High School 10/8/14
- Glenbrook North High School 10/21 & 10/22
- Lakes Community High School 10/29/14
- Libertyville High School 11/5/14
- Wauconda High School 11/12/14
- Deerfield High School 12/3/14
- New Trier High School–freshmen only* 12/10/14
- Grayslake North High School (2/25/15)
About The Max Schewitz Foundation
Based in Lake Bluff, Ill., The Max Schewitz Foundation’s dual missions reflect Max’s life and death. His parents and family friends started the Foundation in 2005 after 20-year-old Max died suddenly from a cardiac arrhythmia. The Foundation works to prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people and to promote conservation of fragile reptile species and their ecosystems. Today, over 45,000 high school students have received free EKG testing and 307 echocardiograms from the Foundation and 643 students had an abnormality that required further evaluation. To learn more, call Mary Beth Schewitz at (847) 234-2206 or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.