San Diego

Free Heart Screenings Offered for Teens

Eric Paredes would've turned 22 on May 3. His parents now run a foundation to provide free screenings for other teenagers

With fall sports season around the corner, a free heart screening may help stop one of the leading causes of death in people under 25.

On Sunday, volunteers from the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation will screen more than 1,000 teens, hoping to prevent sudden cardiac arrest or SCA.

The foundation has so far screened 23,000 teens, finding nearly one in 300 at risk from undetected heart abnormality.

The Paredes family of El Cajon, California started their battle against SCA after losing their son, Eric, to an undetected heart condition eight years ago.

After their son died, Hector Paredes and his wife found out a simple electrocardiogram could have prevented the tragedy.

Eric had always been an apparently healthy teenage athlete. He played football for the Steele Canyon Youth League in East San Diego County and loved wrestling.

Thousands of teenagers die every year due to SAC, but athletes are especially at risk for it, according to Sarah Thompson, executive director of Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation. This is because heart screenings are not a part of routine exams or pre-participation sports physicals.

“Even though many heart conditions often have no symptoms or unrecognized warning signs, we find 1-2 percent at risk at every screening, so each is literally a life-saving event,” Thompson said.

The foundation will provide ECGs, echocardiograms and CPR/AED training for those wishing to be checked this Sunday at El Capitan High School in Lakeside. Learn how you can register on the foundation website.

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