Play Smart screening offered free for young athletes Nov. 11

Many of us have heard stories about young athletes collapsing on the field or court. In fact, one high school aged athlete suffers a sudden cardiac arrest every three days in the U.S.

Risk factors for student athletes include genetics, family history and cardiac abnormalities. The best way to detect these heart conditions is through a heart screening using an ECG (electrocardiogram), and in some cases an echocardiogram (ultrasound) of the heart.

Play Smart is a community service program developed by Providence Heart and Vascular Institute to screen youths who may be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The program’s long-term goal is to prevent sudden cardiac death among young people and to engage our communities in a dialogue about heart health, prevention and access to health care.

Funded by philanthropy, free screenings in the Play Smart program are available to youth between the ages of 12 and 18, regardless of families’ ability to pay. Donations from caring community members and committed partners help defer screening costs

As part of a larger health care system and in partnership with the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, Providence Hood River Memorial hospital is pleased to announce Play Smart free youth cardiac screenings are coming to Hood River.

“The Play Smart screenings in Hood River will have a special meaning for one of our community members,” said Susan Frost, director of marketing and foundation for Providence Hood River. “We are so grateful to Hood River community member, Vicki Bebb, for her dedication and financial support in partnership with Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation to host the screenings in our area.”

Parents Vicki Bebb and Larry Bowe lost a son to an undiagnosed heart defect – the exact type of defect the Play Smart cardiac screening program is designed to detect. Vicki has always had the goal to prevent this from happening in other families.

Vicki’s son, Ryan, was born and raised in Hood River and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. Ryan was a multi-sport athlete and dedicated runner throughout high school and college and studied hard to become a district attorney. Married and expecting a child, Ryan died suddenly, at a young age, from a silent heart attack due to an enlarged heart.

Vicki joined forces with Providence to bring heart screenings for youth to Hood River to avoid this from happening to another family. “I am passionate about Play Smart and prevention” said Bebb. “If we can help one young person, it is worth it to me. Please consider bringing your kids or grandkids to get screened.”

Planned from 2 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, the Play Smart screenings are painless and last about 10-15 minutes and include a medical and family history questionnaire, a blood pressure check, and an electrocardiogram to young people ages 12 through 18.

“The screenings are open to all kids in this age range in the Columbia Gorge, no matter where you live or if you play sports. It’s easy to sign up by calling 503-216-6800, and people should note that pre-registration is required. We have a limited number of slots. Depending on the demand, we will be able to host more screenings in the future” said Frost.”

“We recognize that Play Smart not only provides access to life-saving care for our young patients but it also creates a broader platform for engaging with families and communities, for having important conversations about heart health, and for creating a major impact when it comes to prevention and wellness for youth and adults” said Frost. “Play Smart is a program that speaks to the Providence mission of treating the most vulnerable among us, but it also speaks to health care reform and the need to create healthier communities, together, with prevention and wellness as a focus.”

Call 503-216-6800 today to sign up for a screening at Providence Hood River on Nov. 11. For more information on the program, visit

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