A pulsing new program for the hearts of Sacred Heart

Izzy Sio '16

Izzy Sio '16

Izzy Sio '16
Izzy Sio ’16

As Convent of the Sacred Heart athletes continue to put their heart and soul into playing the sports that they love, the Sacred Heart Athletic Department continues to support their efforts with a new program that keeps hearts beating.
At the fall sports Meet and Greet September 4, Athletic Trainer Ms. Dawn Macri introduced a new enterprise that will help detect genetic heart risk disease in student-athletes and teens. Ms. Macri hopes that the project, with the help of modern technology, will decrease the number of fatal injuries caused by undetected heart problems.
As the first of its kind in the state of Connecticut, the project intends to determine a student’s likelihood of heart failure. It helps prevent heart attacks or strokes frequent for those prone to genetic heart risk disease.
The program’s plan to test if the disease is present will include an examination of a student’s medical history as well as her parents’  medical histories.  Other aspects of the process include interviews with at least one parent, physical examinations of heart rates and blood pressure, height and weight stations, an electrocardiogram test station, and physician consultations with the student.
Ms. Macri will be working with Greenwich Emergency Medical Service to find cardiologists and doctors willing to help support the process.
“Sacred Heart is already helping by supporting my cause and efforts, and hopefully once we get this program off the ground, Sacred Heart will help even further by providing volunteers,” Ms. Macri said.
The inspiration for Ms. Macri’s genetic heart risk program derived from an experience she had as an athletic trainer at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia.  One of the school’s cross country athletes had an unexpected heart attack while running.
“Since then I have had the drive to want to do more to prevent sudden cardiac deaths in young people by furthering the screening process for them,” Ms. Macri said.
Once the program gains headway at Sacred Heart, the Athletic Department and Ms. Macri hope to collaborate with other schools in the Fairchester Athletic Association, and eventually, public schools in the area.
Since its introduction, Sacred Heart students have shown interest in the project.  Currently, over 20 students and their families have signed up in support of the budding enterprise.
“I think it will help decrease injuries,” junior and member of the fall crew team Katherine Siciliano said.  “It doesn’t seem large, but it can save a life and it’s something we can and should take into consideration.”
– Izzy Sio, Staff Writer