Free Beaumont student-athlete heart checks held Saturday

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It's free yet it could be a priceless gift, a heart check for a teenager.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Ryan lives in a pretty healthy household.

But this Royal Oak Shrine Catholic High School soccer player had no idea if his heart was in tip top shape, until now.

Michael is at Beaumont Hospital to get a student heart check, which is something doctors recommend for anyone in high school.

"We'd like all student athletes to be screened, because there are situations where cardiac issues are silent, and they may not necessarily have clear family history," said Melissa Stevens, a Beaumont cardiologist.

The screening involves a blood pressure check, an EKG that measures the heart's rhythm, and an ultra sound of the heart. The goal is to find any problem, and the most common is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, thickening of the heart muscle, which is one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young people.

"About every three days one student athlete will die from previously undiagnosed heart conditions," Stevens said.

As for Michael, results are reassuring.

"She told me my heart looked good and blood pressure awesome," he said. "Good news and good news."

Beaumont has done more than 12,000 of these student heart screenings since 2007 and 165 students had to stop playing sports because of a serious problem discovered.

"Parents are so relieved when they leave," Stevens said. "If there's a problem parents are relieved they get to keep their kids healthy."

Beaumont's free student heart check is happening on Dec. 12  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Anchor Bay High School, 6319 County Line Road, Ira Township.

If you don't make it to the free screening you can pay $25 dollars for a heart check at Beaumont anytime.