North Texas school districts participate in heart study

You might not think high school students would be at risk of heart attacks, but sudden cardiac death can hit athletes of any age.

Now, students from two local school districts have signed for a special heart screening project.

Keller ISD and Richardson ISD have agreed to be part of a study to determine if heart screening would help identify students at risk of sudden cardiac death.

A family near Houston has been pushing for mandatory electrocardiograms since their son died in his sleep from sudden cardiac arrest four years ago.

It's why the North Texas school districts are participating in a voluntary ECG clinical test for student athletes and marching band members.

"It's exciting that we're gonna have data to work from to see if it's something that is a viable option or it's gonna help kids,” said Keller High School Head Coach Carl Stralow.

The data will eventually reach state legislators who will likely take up the question of mandatory heart screenings again next session.

About 20 percent of Texas school districts already require an ECG with the regular physical exam.

In Keller, two schools will be a control group. Students at two other schools will get the heart screening.

The testing starts in about two weeks and will be done at school, It won't cost the schools or the students anything. And if it's necessary, the first follow-up would be free.

If the legislature makes the heart screening mandatory, parents would pay the cost as they do for the normal physical exam right now.