Local Family Behind Free Heart Screenings For Students

Free Cardiac Screenings Offered At Steele Canyon High School In Memory Of Eric Paredes

Free cardiac screenings were offered to athletes at Steele Canyon High School on Saturday, as the parents of a 15-year-old student who died of sudden cardiac arrest from an undetected enlarged heart work to make sure no one else has to go through what they did.

As a two-sport athlete in football and wrestling at Steele Canyon High School, Eric Paredes seemingly had his whole life in front of him.

"I found him collapsed last summer on our kitchen floor," said Hector Paredes, Eric's father.

Paredes said his son never showed any symptoms or signs so he was not tested. He said he organized an EKG screening event for Saturday because he did not want other parents to lose a child.

"This is something that kids need to have done," said Paredes. "There's over 7,000 kids a year that die of sudden cardiac arrest."

Most like Eric did not have any outward signs, but Paredes believes getting an electro-cardiogram to at least measure heart rhythms should be a part of any sports physical.

"My mom was forcing us to come to this," cross country runner C. Gould, told 10News. "I mean, it would be good to know how your heart is doing because I have big plans for the future and I want to get those done."

But Gould's mother said she had a personal reason to come.

"You never know how someone's heart is reacting," said Nina Gould. "When my mom's cousin died, she was 12."

Of the first 150 student athletes who were screened with an EKG, 14 were recommended to get an echo-cardiogram. Of those 14 athletes, Paredes said one was referred to a doctor.

"If a parent comes in and says, 'I want an EKG for my child,' if a physician can't justify it, it won't be approved so the only thing a parent can do is pay out of pocket," he said.

Paredes wants to make sure that is not an issue and hopes to expand the effort to other high schools in the future.

The screening was made possible through Scripps Health and San Diego Project Heart Beat.