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Michiana non-profits see increase in heart screen sign-ups after Bills player collapses on field

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) – The Damar Hamlin situation has the nation talking and some concerned about heart issues.

Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest after video showed him and a Bengals receiver colliding during Monday night’s game in Cincinnati.

Cardiologists have expressed online their belief that Hamlin suffered commotio cordis – a potentially fatal low-mild chest wall impact.

Dr. Robert Cassady, MD, a physician with the South Bend Clinic, said while Hamlin’s cardiac event is tragic, it’s also uncommon.

“I think, for parents, when you think about how many people are playing football every year, how many hours are spent playing, how many different players there are, and to have, you know, one case every couple of years, it’s very unfortunate when it happens, but it’s also very unlikely to happen,” remarked Cassady.

He said anyone with heart concerns should speak to their primary care doctor.

Rise in heart screening sign-ups

Meanwhile, two local non-profits are seeing an increase in people signing up for heart screenings following Hamlin’s falling on field.

“I think people definitely got the message last night of how important heart screenings are,” said Teresa Mago, founder of The Zac Mago Foundation.

Mago has partnered with Julie West, who started Play for Jake, to form Team 265 – a joint initiative that puts on low-cost health screenings.

In 2013, West lost her teenage son, Jake, to an undetected heart condition, and five years later, Teresa’s teenage son, Zac, died from an enlarged heart.

“We, as parents, we should know the health of… our children’s hearts, and regular stethoscope and a regular physical is not good enough,” said Julie West.

Team 265 has monthly heart screenings at the Walkerton Youth Building. The next event is Saturday, February 4th.


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