AUSTIN, Texas — Student-athletes were able to get their hearts checked for free on Saturday.

The Heart Hospital of Austin offered free heart screenings Saturday morning for student-athletes ages 14 through 18. Each screening included a five-minute electrocardiogram (EKG) and a five-minute heart ultrasound to detect hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

"The idea is that athletes are going to be under high intensity and that may predispose them to cardiac arrhythmias or cardiac arrests or the high-intensity exercise," cardiologist Dr. David Kessler said.

According to the Heart Hospital of Austin, HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It's a serious genetic condition in which the heart muscle thickens, and it affects one in 500 student-athletes every year – often without symptoms.


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Heart Hospital of Austin offering free heart screenings for student-athletes

The hospital said HCM is relatively easy to detect, but it can be fatal if it's not diagnosed and treated.

The screenings were provided from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. During that time, more than 100 teens were screened. The hospital told KVUE six of them had heart defects.

"Feels a lot better because I don't have to worry now that something's going to happen to me on the field now that I know I'm cleared," Jason Cannon, a student-athlete, told KVUE.

If you missed this round of screenings, the hospital will be doing another round in February.

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