SWAS athletes to benefit

The Bunbury branch of one of Western Australia’s largest cardiac care providers will provide some of the region’s most promising athletes with free screenings to detect undiagnosed heart conditions for the purpose of managing risk.

Under the arrangement, young sports men and women in South West Academy of Sport programs will undergo tracings and scans at HeartCare WA.

HeartCare WA consultant cardiologist Allison Morton said some cardiac conditions were a recognised cause of sudden death in young people and it was therefore important that junior athletes entering the competitive arena were screened in order to diagnose conditions early and minimise risk.

“I think all elite athletes should undergo cardiac screening. SWAS has a great program for our regional young athletes and we are delighted to be able to support them moving forward,” Dr Morton said.

“Anything we do will help give the athletes a clean bill of health at the beginning of their career to detect conditions early rather than waiting until they have problems.

“The risk of some heart conditions can be mitigated if you know someone has it but you have to know it is there to be able to provide the best care and treatment.”

SWAS chief executive officer Bernice Butlion welcomed HeartCare WA’s support, which will reduce costs for families of young athletes, as well as identify at-risk athletes so they can manage their condition.

“It’s a regulation in SWAS that every athlete has an ECG (electrocardiogram),” she said.

“Previously, screenings have identified athletes who otherwise had a clean bill of health but were identified as having cardiac issues.

“This is an essential service we will utilise. It will make a massive difference.”

In addition to supporting SWAS through free screenings, HeartCare WA will also get behind the academy through participating in the SWAS-Telstra Fun Run and Relay on Saturday March 18.

Dr Morton will compete in the 10 kilometre category of the event, and also organise a team from the local coronary care unit to participate in the relay.