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Posts published in “Day: November 8, 2012

TO PREVENT ATHLETES’ DEATHS: Stephens asks U.I.L. to require E.C.G. tests

CROSBY – Scott Stephens asked the University Interscholastic League Legislative Council (U.I.L.L.C.) on Oct. 19 to require Electrocardiograms (E.C.G.) for high school football players and that they be read by cardiologists because if that had been the rule, his son, Cody, would be alive today.

It was on Cody Stephens’ birthday that Scott made his speech to the board that assists in governing issues for the U.I.L. It is the U.I.L. that requires physicals for athletes today but the system is based upon a 1950’s model of medicine, Stephens makes the case that medicine has progressed over the past 50 years.

If you know Scott, you know he can make a case but to know that the tests can be administered for as low as $15 and that already this year, a Huffman student says the test saved his life, and following surgery, that student, Chris Aguilar has returned to the football field, then the case against performing a heart screening seems weak.

One of the great things about men of character is if you ask them what the other side is they will tell you. Because they know both sides going into the argument. Scott says that the U.I.L. Medical Committee may be asking for more study of the situation because of the possibility of false positives keeping a potentially great athlete from playing a season.

During his address Stephens said, “The U.I.L. website says the risk of sudden cardiac death is only 1 in 300,000. But the real number is 1 in 88,000 students. The Cypress ECG Project will tell you from their own 9-year history that 1 child in 8500 has required corrective heart surgery. Studies have shown that the risk for sudden cardiac death in athletes is 2.5 times greater than the general population and boys are 5 times more likely to die than girls. The Texas Heart Institute told me this week that we are a pace to lose 50 students between the ages of 12 through 18 in Texas this year.

Compare that with 1 heat related death in their 25 years.”

Stephens would also tell the U.I.L. Council, “The current school physicals catch about 1% of heart issues. Adding screenings can improve that to 98%.

After screenings about 4.5 percent of students are recommended for follow-up with a cardiologist. If each of you has 2 kids then by the stats 3 of them may need their heart looked at closely. Is it your child? Mine was one in 88,000.

My son, Cody Stephens, who would have been 19 today, wouldn’t be a U.I.L. statistic. He was in the spring of his senior year awaiting his graduation when on May 6, 2012 when he came home on a Sunday afternoon and said ‘Dad I’m tired. I’m going to take a nap.’ He never woke up; he died from an enlarged heart.”

But the statistics don’t end with that refutation of the 1 in 88,000 students statistics, according to Stephens, “but if you are an athlete, you are two and a half times greater to have the enlarged heart, so now you are down to one in 35,000. And if you are a male athlete you are seven times more likely to have the condition so now you are down to one in 7,000. And then if you are a male basketball player it gets down to like one in 3,000.”

“Well, the good news is that local school district are getting behind this and they are going to be doing the tests and hopefully the state gets behind it. If the state doesn’t then I’m just going to just work it from the grass roots. We have got 1073 school districts in Texas and they all need to hear this and make the right decision.”

During a rather lengthy question and answer session Stephens stated “Cody had an E.C.G. in the 7th grade, it was read by the family doctor and the family doctor passed him. It was not read by a cardiologist, I had that same E.C.G read by a cardiologist this week and he told me that he would have kicked it for H.C.M., what Cody died of.”

The question is open why does the U.I.L. need to mandate this low cost and quick test.

“Huffman ISD made the decision to do E.C.G.s 2 years ago during their physicals exams. The school nurse was catching a little heat from some parents that this wasn’t necessary. After all, it wasn’t required by the U.I.L.. She called the school nurse, in neighboring Crosby to do it also. Stating, if we both do this potentially life saving test maybe the heat will be less. The school nurse in Crosby agreed, but for whatever reason, Crosby didn’t chose to follow through. So my son, who desperately needed the tests, didn’t even know it was an option or available.

The Star-Courier will continue to follow the developments of this investigation as to what if any actions will be taken by school districts and the State of Texas regarding heart monitoring.

Election results in a “status quo”

Incumbents Obama, Sheriff Garcia, Constable Jones re-elected: Voter turnout heavy in most precincts

HARRIS COUNTY – Republican candidates took a great deal of the county and national votes, but not enought to unseat several incumbent Democrats the vote tally has revealed. Few substantive changes resulted, even after 18 months of expensive campaigning, and most commentators were referring to the final results as a return of the “status quo.”

But in important Harris County offices, voters decided to return Adrian Garcia as Sheriff, and Ken Jones as Pct. 3 Constable. Vote percentages were Garcia 53% vs Guthrie 45.2%, and Jones 63% vs Cruzan 37%.

Jack Cagle was re-elected as Pct. 4 Commissioner and El Franco Lee as Commissioner in Pct. 1. In the race for County Attorney incumbent Vince Ryan was re-elected with 51.5%, vs Robert Talton with 48.5%. Mike Anderson won the race for District Attorney, with 52.4% of the vote for this county office over Lloyd Oliver. Mike Sullivan was elected as Tax Assessor-Collector with 48.9% of the vote. Ann Bennett had 48.7%%.

In the national race for president, Obama had 303 Electoral College votes at press time, vs 206 for Romney. Only 270 are needed to win as president. Television networks declared Obama the winner at 10:15 Central Time, after the Ohio results were available. The irony was that Romney led in the popular vote most of the evening, and when this announcement was made.

In state of Texas races, Ted Cruz was elected Senator to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison, with 57% of the vote vs 40% for Paul Sadler. Ted Poe, Kevin Brady, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Gene Green were returned as Congressmen.

Dan Huberty and Wayne Smith, representing this area, were returned to the State Legislature.

One irony in the State Senate race was that deceased candidate Mario Gallegos received 70% of the vote, over opponent R. W. Bray. This means that the governor will have to appoint a replacement, and eventually call a special election. Speculation is that either Carol Alvarado or Sylvia Garcia might be appointed to this Democratic seat.

Barry Smitherman was re-elected as chairman of the important railroad commission, the misnamed agency that controls oil and gas production in the state. Smitherman was originally from Highlands.

Mike Parrott ran unopposed for Justice of the Peace and was re-elected.

The City of Baytown had 19 amendments on the ballot, and all were passed except #2, which called for a salary increase for the mayor and councilmen.

All the bond issues passed, which means Houston Community College, Houston ISD, and the City of Houston will have funds for new construction, and most likely will raise taxes to pay for them. METRO passed a proposition that will give 1/4 of its sales tax revenue back to local cities for mobility improvements, and keep the rest for buses and debt repayments.

School Board Elections

Crosby had three board positions up for election this time. In Position 4, David Porter defeated David Shaver with 62.5 percent of the vote. In Position 5, incumbent Carla Mills Windfont received 81% of the vote, over Will Locke. In position 7, challenger James Hofmann had 64% of the vote, vs Gerald Blankenship with 36%.

In Huffman, school trustees Dean Tinnin, Charles Bardwell, and Matt Dutton were returned without opposition. For Position 7 Patrick Keith won with 53% vs Guy Smith with 47%. Keith had 1855 votes, and Smith had 1641 votes.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart stated that 1,188,734 citizens voted, out of a total of 1,942,566 registered, for a 61.19% turnout. This figure is considered high for a general election, indicating the great interest in national and local races.