MediComp is looking to partner with Who We Play For in hopes of raising heart awareness, especially among young athletes.
MediComp is Melbourne-based cardiac monitoring company.
Who We Play For, a Cocoa-Beach based non-profit organization, with a mission to eliminate preventable sudden cardiac death in the youth through affordable heart screenings.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and by promoting heart awareness and providing affordable screenings to hundreds of communities, we’re able to prevent the loss of another young person to cardiac arrest,” Evan Ernst, co-founder of Who We Play For, said.
The story of Who We Play For started in 2007 after Ernst and his fellow co-founders lost a friend in high school who suddenly went into cardiac arrest on the Coach Beach High School soccer field and died the next day.
The co-founders of Who We Play For realized in their collegiate school years that their friend’s condition could have been detected through an electrocardiogram (EKG) screening, which would’ve caught an irregularity or major heart problem through measuring electrical activity within the heart.
“The U.S. is one nation that is behind in recognizing sudden cardiac arrest as an immense public health issue, and Who We Play For wants to change that,” Ernst said.
The Cocoa Beach NGO provides EKG screenings for the price of $20 versus the standard $150 the hospital would charge, according to Ernst.
To date, Who We Play For has screen over 100,00 athletes in over 500 communities and detected heart conditions in over 100 kids.
As Who We Play For creates more heart awareness within the community, their efforts have caught the attention of MediComp, a Melbourne-based cardiac monitoring company.
Maria Fernanda is a Florida Tech graduate student working towards her MBA in healthcare management and is also a MediComp employee.
“MediComp is looking to partner with Who We Play For to work towards providing our cardiac monitoring devices for individuals after screenings have caught particular heart abnormalities,” she said.
Fernanda stated that when she first heard about her company’s interest in this local organization, she immediate questioned why Florida tech student athletes weren’t doing this.
Who We Play For has partnered with various Division I, II, III and evan NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools. Ernst also stated the organization has worked towards partnering with Florida Tech before.
Jillian Collins is a senior majoring in chemical engineering and also a member of the swim team.
Collins has a rare heart condition called mitral valve regurgitation where her blood flows backwards.
Although her heart condition was not detected by an EKG, she still thinks heart prevention in young student athletes is a very important issue.
“You can never be too safe, and an EKG takes like five minutes,” Collins said. “After all, you never think something is wrong with you until something is wrong with you.”
A question that begins to arise in this topic is if EKG screenings are provided to Florida Tech student athletes, should they be mandatory or optional?
“I think it’s a good idea,” Theresa Gadilbe, a junior in accounting and a member of the women’s rowing team, said. “However, I think it should be optional because health is something personal and everyone has to be able to decide for themselves.”
Fernanda also raised a concern that if concussion testing is so prevalent and testing is mandatory for student athletes, why are EKG screenings not mandated?
Assistant athletic trainer and head athletic trainer for football, Joe Fiorina, agrees with Fernanda that there is immense value in EKG screenings for young student athletes. Yet, there are other factors involved in a decision like this.
“I would love for every athlete to have an EKG screening before their seasons begin,” Fiorina said. “However, at a school like Florida Tech, this is not exactly a feasible financial option and there could be difficulties with the university’s athletic insurance policies. I still would highly recommend to all athletes to get EKG screenings though.”
Companies like MediComp and organizations like Who We Play For are making waves and creating discussion within the community by aiming to promote healthy heart awareness throughout Brevard County.