Heart screens for teens to be offered at Cheer Off

LAWRENCEVILLE - Broken hearts may be a part of growing up, but some teens could be suffering from other types of heart conditions that can be fatal.

Mickey King Jr., the founder of the southeast's largest mobile medical imaging service, has recruited cardiologists and echo technologists to give heart screenings for local teenagers at the Gwinnett Football League Cheer Off at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Sunday.

Ultrascan Inc.'s Heart Screens for Teens is teaming with Sibley Heart Center to provide echocardiogram exams from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to check for potentially fatal conditions that can not be identified during routine physicals.

"A physical just doesn't get it done," King said. "You need a real moving picture of the heart."

The exams cost $58, take 10 to 15 minutes and require no preparation. Results will be given to teens' parents, and anyone with abnormal test results will be referred to their family doctor for a follow up.

Erik Richards, president of Gwinnett Football League, asked that Heart Screens for Teens provide the exams at Sunday's event.

"What we're trying to do is allow parents an opportunity to have their children scanned for a fraction of the cost," Richards said. Screenings can cost between $900 and $1,500.

Shiloh football player Jacheem Xavier died from a heart attack due to an enlarged heart in July, and Richards said his mother, Michelle Penn, has become a big proponent of heart screenings for teens.

"She feels that had her son had one of these, there's a good chance he would still be alive," Richards said.

Last year, Ultrascan Inc. screened 523 athletes at the University of Tennessee and found four players with heart problems. A tumor was found on the heart of linebacker Shane Reveiz, a discovery that saved his life.

"The more (teens) we screen, the more lives we save," King said.

Appointments for screenings at Sunday's event can be made by calling Ultrascan Inc. at 770-813-8323, and walk-in appointments will be available throughout the day. Richards said the screenings are not only for athletes; all teenagers are encouraged to get an exam.

For more information on the screenings, visit www.heartscreensforteens.com.

SideBar: If you go

What: Heart Screens for Teens heart screenings during the Gwinnett Football League Cheer Off

When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth

Cost: $58

For more information: Call 770-813-8323 or visit www.heartscreensforteens.com