Cayman’s top teenage athletes got the chance to have extensive heart check ups recently and a startling number needed follow up tests.
Sixty-three high level athletes were administered the free testing. Doctors found six abnormalities.
The Cayman Islands government teamed with a US-based hospital to offer the heart screenings two weeks ago at the Heart Health Centre in West Shore Plaza.
The tests should have been $750 each, but that was waived. They came about because footballer Gerome “Bird” Graham died suddenly at training from an undetected enlarged heart nine months ago. He was only 20 and a popular youngster.
The tragedy may help save others because Bird’s brothers Kareem James, 21, and Jondane Darkin, 12, were tested and had no abnormalities.
The cost of bringing the American medical professionals overseas to Grand Cayman was nearly $10,000, which was paid for by local government.
Those tested were 21 track and field athletes, 15 footballers, four swimmers, 11 multiple-sport athletes, two netballers, nine basketballers and one gymnast.
Visiting doctor Mikhail Kosiborod said: “Congratulations on the successful athletic heart screening clinic. It is a wonderful accomplishment with real impact on the athletes’ lives and a perfect example of a successful collaborative effort from everyone involved.”
Dr. Kosiborod and Dr. Anthony Magalski are cardiologists and medical directors of the athletic heart clinic of the Mid-America Heart Institute, in Kansas City, Missouri. They came with coordinator Marsha McCoy.
Dr. Kosiborod revealed two are potentially serious conditions, with significant risk, which can impact ability to participate in sports unless treated.
One athlete had a previously unknown valve condition, which needs follow up, but does not preclude competitive sports.
Three were found to have elevated blood pressure, which will require at least lifestyle modifications, follow up attention and possibly treatment if the diagnosis of premature hypertension is confirmed in subsequent exams.