Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is kicking off a life saving program to help screen high school athletes for congenital heart issues. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death among young athletes. On average, every three days a young athlete dies in the United States from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The comprehensive program funded by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Salinas Valley Memorial will address this threat to young athletes who otherwise appear healthy and have no known medical conditions.

The unique project is called S.E.E., which stands for Screen, Educate, and Equip. The launch of S.E.E takes place at Gonzales High School on Thursday, September 1 and includes providing the school with a new AED package. It is the only program of its kind in the tri county area.

“Our goal with the S.E.E Program is to prevent a heart event,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “Often times, parents don’t know their child has a heart abnormality until it’s too late. Not only will all Gonzales High athletes undergo these heart scans, their classmates will also learn some valuable lessons.”

Funding by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Salinas Valley Memorial will provide more than 200 student athletes at Gonzales High School with screening for congenital heart issues. In addition, all 750 students at the high school and 50 faculty will receive education and training in hands only CPR and AED use.

Electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians will conduct the heart scans in the gymnasium of Gonzales High School in October. Emergency Room physicians will also be there to read the results of the EKGs. If abnormalities were to be found, an onsite Echocardiogram would be done and the student would be provided with a list of recommended pediatric cardiologists to consult with after the screening. Students will also receive a copy of their EKG results and notes from the physicians indicating what was observed.

“The S.E.E program is an all- encompassing program carefully designed to create a safety net for at-risk cases. We want to catch abnormalities early, we want to save lives,” says David Ramos, MD, Vice Chief of Staff at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “We’ll also be giving the students and faculty the tools to save lives by training them on how to perform hands on CPR and by training them to use an automatic external defibrillator.”

SVMHS in partnership with the American Heart Association will provide Gonzales High School with 4 complete “CPR in School Kits,” enough to train 40 students at once. Teachers and/or staff will be able to train all students in basic CPR during the school year, and will incorporate that training into classes for incoming students in future years. Gonzales High School will also receive a new AED for their campus, with carry case and wall cabinet, all of this at no cost.

A demo of the student athlete heart screening will be conducted Thursday starting at 3pm at Gonzales High School, along with a CPR in Schools training for one full class. A brief presentation is planned to thank the school for being the first S.E.E. Program participant, and to officially present the AED to the campus. All student athletes will undergo the heart screening on October 21, and CPR/AED training will begin rotating through classes immediately. The S.E.E Program is made possible by funding from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Program.