6th grade students attending Leon County Schools will be eligible to receive a free ECG screening test. 

Where & When:

The testing will be conducted at middle schools in the fall of each school year.

About The Process & Parent Notification:

The ECG screening test will be administered by representatives from the Who We Play For organization. Each electrocardiogram (ECG) heart screening is interpreted by a pediatric cardiologist or cardiologist (for participants 16 and older) volunteering to serve on WWPF’s Medical Advisory Team. These are national and international level experts specifically trained on how to read ECG heart screenings for athletes based on the International Criteria.

‍Results are returned via email within 3 – 7 business days. Students must be 10+ years old to participate in our heart screening program. All parents/guardians will receive the results of the ECG screening for their child. The interpreted ECGs will be returned to the school with a designation of low risk, follow-up, or high risk, as well as information about particular ECG findings, when applicable.

An abnormal ECG will be flagged for follow-up, which means additional testing is needed to see what is causing that abnormality – think of it as a yellow caution light. It will include documentation on what the potential problem might be.

If a student is flagged as high risk, it is like a red traffic light. He or she should not participate in sports or high-energy activities in any way (practice, games, scrimmages, etc.) until he or she has seen a specialist and received clearance or treatment.

Parents will be notified of the ECG screening dates at least two weeks before the scheduled date and have the ability to opt-out their children of receiving an ECG screening.

Thank you to our funding sponsor!

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Additional Key Information You Should Know.

What is ECG?

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the simplest and fastest tests used to evaluate the heart. Electrodes (small, plastic patches that stick to the skin) are placed at certain spots on the chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes are connected to an ECG machine by lead wires. The electrical activity of the heart is then measured, interpreted, and printed out. No electricity is sent into the body.

Natural electrical impulses coordinate contractions of the different parts of the heart to keep blood flowing the way it should. An ECG records these impulses to show how fast the heart is beating, the rhythm of the heart beats (steady or irregular), and the strength and timing of the electrical impulses as they move through the different parts of the heart. Changes in an ECG can be a sign of many heart-related conditions.

Preventative Cardiac Screening: Safeguarding the Health of Student Athletes

A simple cardiac screening can help detect problems before they become major medical issues and can save lives. It is recommended all active students get an ECG. Students should definitely be screened if they:

  • compete in high impact sports which increase your heart rate for long periods of time
  • have a family history indicating a heart disease risk
  • get dizzy during athletics
  • experience fainting spells or weakness while participating in athletics
  • get shortness of breath that does not clear quickly
  • get chest pain while participating in athletics

Sudden cardiac death is often caused by faulty electrical signaling in the heart. A very fast heartbeat causes the lower heart chambers (ventricles) to quiver uselessly instead of pumping blood. This irregular heart rhythm is called ventricular fibrillation.

Any condition that puts a strain on the heart or damages heart tissue can increase the risk of sudden death. Some conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death in young people are:


  • Thickened heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). The most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people is this genetic condition that causes the heart muscle to grow too thick. The thickening makes it hard for the heart to pump blood and can cause fast heartbeats.
  • Heart rhythm disorders. Long QT syndrome is a heart rhythm condition that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. It’s linked to unexplained fainting and sudden death, especially in young people. Long QT syndrome may be present at birth (congenital long QT syndrome) or caused by an underlying medical condition or medication (acquired long QT syndrome).
  • Other heart rhythm disorders that can cause sudden cardiac death include Brugada syndrome and Wolfe-Parkinson-White syndrome.
  • Blunt chest injury. A hard hit to the chest that causes sudden cardiac death is called commotio cordis. Commotio cordis may occur in athletes who are hit hard in the chest by sports equipment or by another player. This condition doesn’t damage the heart muscle. Instead, it changes the heart’s electrical signaling. The blow to the chest can trigger ventricular fibrillation if it strikes at a specific time in the signaling cycle.
  • Heart structure problem present at birth (congenital heart defect). Some people are born with changes in the heart and blood vessels that can reduce blood flow and lead to sudden cardiac death.


By identifying heart abnormalities that might otherwise go undetected, these screenings help prevent sudden cardiac death — the leading cause of death among young athletes. Most sudden deaths in athletes were attributable to CVD (56%). Of the cardiovascular deaths that occurred, 29% occurred in African-Americans, 54% in high school students, and 82% with physical exertion during competition/training, and only 11% occurred in females, although this proportion has increased over time.