After tragic death, hospital offers screenings for athletes - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

After tragic death, hospital offering heart screenings for young athletes

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As his teammates, coaches, and fans look on, an ambulance takes Ronald Rouse to the hospital on Friday night. As his teammates, coaches, and fans look on, an ambulance takes Ronald Rouse to the hospital on Friday night.

In the wake of the tragic death of a South Carolina high school football player, a Midlands hospital is doing its part to make it easier for parents to detect potentially life-threatening heart conditions in their children.

18-year-old senior defensive lineman Ronald Rouse of Hartsville died after collapsing during a football game Friday night as a result of a sudden irregular heartbeat brought on because he was born with an enlarged heart, according to Darlington County Coroner J. Todd Hardee.

That condition, known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes. HCM is responsible for 36% of deaths in young athletes, and 90% of these deaths occur during athletic activities.

HCM occurs from a thickening of the heart wall that results in an obstruction of blood flow. This in turn causes the heart to work much harder. While it is a rare disease, in the majority of cases, HCM is inherited. HCM can affect men and women of all ages, but it can be detected beginning around age 13. In many cases, there are no symptoms that appear before cardiac arrhythmias occur, which may lead to sudden death.

WIS-TV and Providence Hospitals are teaming up to offer screenings for enlarged hearts at a fraction of what a normal test would cost. 

The quick, non-invasive echocardiograms will be provided by the Providence School of Cardiovascular Diagnostics. The screenings, which normally cost approximately $1,800, will be offered for $50 per person.

No physicians order or insurance is required, but those who want the screening must re-register.

Screenings will be held Oct 10th and 11th this week and the following week on the 16th, 17th and 18th @ Providence Hospital Downtown campus from 5:00pm to 8:00 pm.  Multiple Cardiologists are willing to donate their time to evaluate the findings of the echocardiograms at no charge to the athlete or the hospital.

To register for a screening, call Providence Health Connect toll-free at 877-256-5381.

Learn more about HCM here:

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