BRANDYWINE HUNDRED, Del. – A New Castle County student’s life may have been saved by a County-sponsored ECG/EKG Heart Screening event this past weekend.
The inaugural Heart In The Game screening was held at Springer Middle School and brought close to 200 middle and high school students from 15 NCC schools. County Executive Tom Gordon provided the non-profit with the funding necessary for the event.
“We applaud Heart In The Game Director Greer Firestone for being a leader in our community and bringing a life-threatening issue to the forefront,” County Executive Gordon said.
Firestone created the Heart In The Game organization because his daughter, Grace, suffered sudden unexpected cardiac arrest on June 6, 2011 – just two days after graduation. Grace was both a healthy and active child who was a key player on Tower Hill School girls’ soccer team.
This unexpected tragedy inspired Firestone to research and create Heart In The Game. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the No. 1 killer of student athletes on the playing field. A simple, five-minute non-invasive ECG/EKG will uncover 85 percent of potential issues for children 10-19.
Firestone also wanted “hands only" CPR and AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) training as part of the event. "I went to County CAO Dave Grimaldi and asked if the NCC EMS would volunteer their time to train. He didn't blink. 'Of course', he said".
At Saturday’s daylong event, one athlete’s ECG showed heart defects that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest, Firestone said. "One of our doctors told the parent of this 14-year-old Brandywine High lacrosse player that he should not participate in sports until he was evaluated by a cardiologist.
The next day the Till family of Brandywine Hundred made an appointment for their son, Joe. I told Grace's mom that her daughter just saved a life on Saturday."
“I especially thank County Executive Tom Gordon, who made the donation that made this event possible today. He took a risk. However, we've only started. Our mission is to screen every middle school and high school student in Delaware. Due to Tom's and Dave's vision, we are on our way.”