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Play for Jake: Bremen High School screens over 300 students for heart defects

Play for Jake // WSBT 22

The Play for Jake Foundation is continuing its mission to provide heart screenings for young people.

Bremen High School played host to the event Tuesday.

So far, the foundation has be able to screen more than 3,000 students. Now, it can add more than 350 Bremen High School students to that list.

The screenings are to help find previously undetected heart defects and hopefully save lives.

Four years ago, Jake West suddenly collapsed on the football field because of an undetected heart condition.

His mother, Julie Schroder, made a promise to prevent this tragedy from happening to more families. She says the hope is that one-day heart screenings will be mandatory for all kids.

"Kids should not be collapsing on the fields, or at school, or wherever they are just because of a heart condition that they aren't aware of. So, if we're doing these screenings we'll be able to pick up things,” said Schroder.

It's a two-step process. First, an EKG tests the electrical system of the heart. Followed by an Echocardiogram that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. It's a simple process that take less than 15 minutes.

"I think it's really helping the students to know if they are really healthy or not and if we need to take better precautions for the future for better health,” said Bremen High School Junior, Preston Porter.

Images of high school students who have survived and others who have passed from undetected heart conditions greeted students as they entered the gym for their heart screening.

School officials say the goal is zero positive tests. They say in the event that doesn't happen, at least they caught it quick enough to make a difference.

"If given the opportunity, all schools should do this. It's a lifesaving event and that's what we're hoping for today. That we have a lifesaving event,” said Bremen High School Principal, Bruce Jennings.

Schroder says there was never a sign or a symptom when Jake passed but his legacy lives on.

"He would just feel very proud of his family for taking this on and wanting to offer this for other families don't have to go through the heartache and sadness that we live every day. So, he's very happy up there, I know he is,” said Schroder.

Since the foundation began, at least 20 students have been found with heart irregularities.

Schroder says the foundation plans to visit more schools in the future.

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