Hearts and minds

PUBLISHED: 11:27 31 October 2010

RFU offers free cardiac screening to elite

ALL elite rugby players in this country, over the age of 16, are to be offered free cardiac screening, the RFU announced this week.

The testing programme will be carried out in partnership with CRY (Cardiac Risky in the Young), a registered charity raising awareness of undetected cardiac abnormalities in young, apparently healthy individuals.

The statistics suggest the risk of sudden cardiac death when exercising between the ages of 14 and 35 is as unlikely as being struck by lightning.

But we’ve all heard stories of people being struck by lightning, and one of our own clubs, Campion, are only too aware of the tragedy that can unfold when a member loses their life to undetected heart problems, following the death of James Patterson.

Underlying conditions are detectable and the majority of these tragic deaths can be prevented.

CRY have been providing a limited screening programme to England representative players since 2004 and rolling out the tests will significantly increase the numbers reached.

For players over the age of 20, these tests will be their only opportunity for a check, but younger players will be tested every two years as the heart continues to grow.

Steve Cox, from CRY, said: “This initiative will not only identify those elite rugby players potentially at risk, but also send a powerful message to the community about the importance of cardiac screening in all young people.”

Anyone wanting these tests can visit the CRY website to book an appointment and will have the same service as rugby’s elite players.

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