Speaking last week at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Highlands, Scott Stephens recounted for the audience the long path through this year’s Texas Legislature’s 84th session.
Stephens wants to provide heart screenings for all student athletes, to avoid the Sudden Cardiac Death that took the life of his son unexpectedly in 2002. His son Cody, a healthy looking football player in Crosby, had an undetected heart defect and died without warning at his family home.
Since that time, his father Scott has campaigned to provide ECG heart screening to all young athletes, at first with private donated funds, and eventually with the hope that school districts would include it in their regular screening process for students, athletes and others.
Stephens formed a private foundation, the Cody Stephens Foundation, and has raised over $500,000 to pay for 15,000 of these ECG tests last year. But he says there is the need to test many more, and he thinks the state should require all school districts to make this test available and in some cases mandatory.
During this session of the 84th Texas Legislature, there were 3 House bills and 1 Senate bill that were forwarding the proposal. Sponsors in the House were representatives Sylvester Turner, Wayne Smith, and Dan Huberty. Sponsor in the Senate was Chuy Hinojosa. The bills read “to prevent Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in student athletes by enhancing the current Pre-Participation Sports Physicals with the addition of an Electrocardiogram (ECG) in the first year and third year of participation. Student and parent may opt out for religious or financial reasons.”
Stephens stated that the cost for an ECG in this circumstance is approximately $15 per student.
Stephens said that SCD is the #1 medical killer of high school age students. (Unfortunately, vehicle crashes are the #1 killer otherwise.)