Screenshot 2023-04-14 115028

Mom on mission to get critical device on every sideline

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (WKRC) – Matthew Mangine Jr. collapsed last June on the soccer field.

His death led to the creation of a foundation in his honor that has already created change locally.

This is a story about another athlete who collapsed on the field seven years before Matt.

Jake West’s mom, Julie, turned misery into a mission: to help protect families from what happened to hers.

“I remember exactly what he was wearing. I remember his walk out to my car. “I was able to say Have a good night. Great practice. Love you,” said Julie West. “And he said love you, mama.”

Jake West went to football practice that September afternoon in 2013.

“I did receive a phone call that Jake collapsed,” Julie said. “I’m thinking maybe he’s just dehydrated.”

He was playing with an undetected heart condition: a right ventricular cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart.

“I still when I think back I still can’t wrap my brain around what was happening at that time,” Julie said. “It was a nightmare that I could not wake up from.”

The friendly, upbeat linebacker was one of seven high school athletes who died in 2013 over one month nationwide — and sudden cardiac arrest killed four athletes in the same span.

“I don’t want to see that happen to any other child or any other family,” Julie said. “I had two perfectly healthy children since the time they were little, so I never even thought about sudden cardiac arrest. I never thought about undetected heart conditions. He passed every physical.”

State Representative Jim Pressel represents Jake’s district in La Porte.

“How can I paint a picture of La Porte,” Pressel said. “It’s everyday America. “

Jake’s mom and the legislator created a bill to add more training for coaches and to educate parents more on EKGs or electrocardiograms, that often detect heart abnormalities.

That bill became law in April — spreading change around sudden cardiac arrest and high school athletes across Indiana.

“(Jake) died way too young for something that could have been detected had he just did something as easy as a heart screening,” Pressel said.

Lawrenceburg athletic trainer Brandie Goad began quizzing her coaches about sudden cardiac arrest and AEDs.

“You only have a couple minutes,” Goad said .”Having the AED that’s on the other side of campus might not be the solution that you need. You need one that’s there and ready.”

“This is the number 1 killer of student-athletes in the nation today,” Pressel said. “We just can’t bring enough attention to this.”

Preventing tragedies like this motivates athletic trainers to educate …. state representatives to legislate …. and one mom to drive change:

“I always say to myself what would Jake do – pretty much every morning,” Julie said.

Jake would give back.

That’s why the mission has grown to providing critical life-saving devices on sidelines.

“The outcome is saving somebody’s life,” Goad said.

Indiana doesn’t require AEDs on sidelines or even sudden cardiac arrest drills.

Jake’s mom is on a mission to change that too.

The Play for Jake Foundation has provided more than 3,700 heart screenings to athletes in two states.


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