High school athlete deaths concern area doctors

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It has happened again. Another student athlete has died, this time in Gainesville, Fla. Sarah Landauer, 17, collapsed last month, but was examined and cleared to run again.  She then collapsed during practice this week and died.

It's the third time in little more than a week that a student athlete has died of heart problems. In Virginia, student athletes and their parents have to fill out a detailed medical form every single year before the student can play sports.

"Take it seriously filling out the form," said Dr. Doug Cutter. "That information in filling out the form is the first sign to the doctor regarding your child's cardiac health."

You've probably seen the national headlines driving this local warning. In Michigan, a high school basketball player died after scoring the winning basket for his team in overtime.

Wes Leonard passed away from cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart.

A few days later in Colorado, the same thing killed 17 year old Matthew Hammerdorfer while he was playing rugby.

Then on Wednesday -- track star Sarah Landauer died after collapsing during drills.

Doctors say these examples showcase why it's important for student athletes to be honest about symptoms -- and parents and coaches need to take those seriously.

"They tell you don't feel well or they are weak and dizzy, or they are passing out with exertion; those are red flags, and those should be brought to a clinicians attention and appropriate tests can be run

Some schools require this form before students can even practice. All local high schools also have heart defibrillators they take to games.

Here is an example of the VHSL form student atheletes need to fill out.

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