GEISMAR, LA (WAFB) - A community has come together to raise awareness about sudden cardiac death in young people after a Dutchtown teen died July 19, 2012.
Burke Cobb, 14, died from Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a serious heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It is believed to exist in roughly 1 out of 500 individuals, and approximately one case of sudden cardiac death occurs every three days in organized youth sports across the United States.
"It doesn't gain that much attention," said Ronnie Simpson, Cobb's uncle. "If 28 children on a school bus get in an accident, and there are no survivors everyday, nobody's going to call that rare."
Cobb would have been a 9th grader at Dutchtown High School and was looking forward to being a part of the Dutchtown football family.
"Burke was a big kid, you know over six-feet tall," said Benny Saia, Dutchtown High School's head football coach. "He was a kid that caught our attention because of his size and his ability. He had a lot of skills."
Burke was a standout incoming freshman at Dutchtown High School, where he was a member of the Dutchtown Freshmen Football Team and the Dutchtown Lacrosse Team. Prior to his passing, Burke was a member of the Prairieville Middle School Football Team, Prairieville Broncos Football Nation, BETA Club, student helper for students with special needs, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Gonzales Dolphins Swimming Team and an enthusiastic wake boarder and hunter, and an active member of Istrouma Baptist Church. He was a native of Baton Rouge, La. and resident of Prairieville, La.
On July 19, 2012, Cobb was playing basketball after his football practice. He was rushed to the hospital by helicopter. Cobb died at the hospital from HCM. Simpson says after Cobb's death, all the kids in the family were tested for HCM. The Living4Burke Foundation is their crusade to make sure all families have access to this type of test.
"One hundred percent of what we raise goes to screening children. So what we want to do is provide either at a low cost the parent, so that they have that option," said Simpson.
Simpson says this loss has been difficult for everyone who new and loved Cobb, but he says working to save the lives in Cobb's honor is helping them start the healing process.
The game on Friday, at Griffin Field, is Dutchtown vs. Sulphur Cobb will be honored before and during the game that starts at 6:30 p.m. The coaches on both teams will wear hats that have Cobb's initials and Living4Burke on them. There will be a fundraiser after the game, a raffle that will include LSU box seats, a Manning football and an LSU helmet. T-shirts will also be sold at the game. If you already have a T-shirt, you are asked to wear it to the game.
Living4Burke, has set up a website and Facebook page to help get the word out. Teens from Dutchtown High School are getting screened and are honoring Cobb at the same time. Each teen that gets screened for heart conditions receives a certificate saying "I've had my heart screened. I'm Living4Burke."