Heart checks for swim team

Cayman’s amateur swimmers underwent heart screening checks before taking part in the recent CARIFTA Swim Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. 

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority donated ECG testing free of charge to the competing athletes who competed.  

The tests screen for underlying cardiac problems in athletes. 

The donation is part of a medical screening procedure required for all CARIFTA team members whereby each individual’s physical and physiological state is assessed prior to the competition in order to flag any concerns.  

Peter MacKay, president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, said that Cayman made great strides at this year’s CARIFTA Swim Championships, held in March and the beginning of April. 

“CIASA saw 18 of our members participate in this year’s CARIFTA Swim Championships and they enjoyed stellar success, with Cayman winning a total of 14 medals, including three gold, to finish 10th overall in this year’s CARIFTA championships,” he said. 

He went on to explain the importance of strict health checks for participants before the CARIFTA Swim Championships. 

“The CIASA has a requirement to maintain records with regards to medications its athletes have taken, including those for allergies, so that the team managers and coaches have the full medical picture with regard to each participant. This is particularly crucial because strict anti-doping procedures must be adopted for swimmers over the age of 14 years,” he said. Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer at the HSA, said the authority was happy to be able to do their part in helping the CARIFTA swimmers compete at their highest levels. 

“The Health Services Authority was very happy to support our swimmers by donating part of this compulsory medical screening test free of charge,” she said.  

Ms Yearwood went on to say that this year three swimmers had already been screened as part of the Cardiac Risk Assessment Programme recently initiated by the Cayman Islands government. 

HSA Accident and Emergency physician Dr. Nigel Boothe, father of two CARIFTA swimmers, and Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, performed the ECG screenings. 

Mr. MacKay confirmed that as the sport of swimming develops in the Cayman Islands, the amateur swimming association continues to look at ways to ensure the physical and physiological well being of the islands’ young athletes and are also looking to use the information obtained from the medical screenings to enhance performance. 

“A donation such as the one our swimmers received from the HSA will help us greatly in our mission and for that reason we are extremely grateful to the Authority,” Mr. MacKay said. 

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