Children First: Matters of the Heart - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Matters of the Heart


Douglas High School football player Cameron Pond has taken his share of tests but a heart screening might be his most important one to date.

"My brother has heart disease, so me and my parents really wanted to check it out and make sure that I didn't have anything like it because he had it his junior and senior year, so it was just sort of a precautionary thing," said Pond.

And a heart screening can go above and beyond the standard athletic physical.

"We're looking for a thickening of the heart muscles. We're also looking for where the coronary arteries come off of the heart and the aorta itself, along with the microvalve polyps and a couple of other things we're trying to rule out things that cause sudden cardiac death," said NeCole Werdle, a technician with Screening America.

And for Pond's brother, who also played football, the screening was instrumental in helping prevent larger health issues.

"We kinda figured it out because he was always sleeping and stuff, so it's definitely a big deal just because how we think it would run in the family. So we didn't know what it was at first but now that we know it isn't that big of a deal because he's on meds and everything," said Pond.

Pond's family isn't the only one touched by this heart issue with football.

"I found out about one of my own step sons last year through a physical and he had to get a second opinion from another doctor. So he did get approved but it was good that he caught that at the time of his physical in the first place," said Shawn Boyle, Director of the Black Hills Youth Football League.

In football proper tackling technique can go a long way too.

"If you just come at it with your head in a certain wrong position, you're more likely to occur an injury. If you do it the proper way, the odds go way down," said Boyle.

"If you get hit, it's not always going to affect your head. It could affect your heart too. So it's nice to know that I'm healthy," said Pond.


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