The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home (GBOGH) Foundation is going big! The foundation is absorbing the Texas non-profit Who We Play For (WWPF) in order to directly screen young students’ hearts with electrocardiograms (ECG). The GBOGH foundation has been funding WWPF heart screening for a number of years, so this move just made sense to reduce duplication of efforts. Together, more than 100,000 students have been screened, with a large portion funded directly by the GBOGH Foundation.
The GBOGH Foundation will have five employees immediately with the charge of screening all of Texas. For the first year of participation, school districts new to the screening program, are offered a free and optional ECG heart screening to those students that are required to have a sports physical. Thereafter, there’s a $20.00 charge for an ECG.
“This program is not about stopping students from playing their respective sports, but just allowing them the opportunity to make sure their hearts are healthy before participation,” said Scott Stephens, Cody’s Dad and co-founder of the GBOGH Foundation. “The current sports physicals use a stethoscope to check the students’ hearts. This technology is 200 years old. We can do better by testing our students’ hearts with computers (ECG machines) and allowing the advances made in modern medicine find these unknown heart conditions.”
The current history and physical and stethoscope is said to find about 3% of the conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest whereas by adding a 5 minute, $20 ECG we can find about 86% of the causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
It is the goal of the Cody Stephens Go Big or go Home Foundation to be the largest Non-profit screening organization in the USA. Currently, we are the largest in Texas, but in order to honor Cody Stephens words to his dad before he left us we believe we should be the largest in the USA.
In order to achieve this goal we are having a fundraiser at the Crosby American Legion Hall on August 25, 2018 at 7 pm. Tickets are $50 per person (tables of 8 for $400) at www.codystephensfoundation.org.
“We need people to attend, and buy and or donate an auction item,” Stephens said. “Quite simply, we are blessed by your support and want all our efforts to come together to save lives. The grassroots effort of screening students continues statewide and that is where your donation helps.”
The foundation’s program is to pay for the first screening at a district that has not begun to screen their student athletes. By providing the funds for first year screenings the schools see how easy it is. “About .01% of the students we screen have issues that should be addressed through medical intervention. All of these students should now go on to live normal heart healthy lives, Stephens said. “But we also continue to lose students to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It continues to be the number 1 cause of non-traumatic death in our youth. This simply is unacceptable.”
For the last three legislative sessions Scott Stephens asked our state legislature to make this test a part of the current sports physicals. With that, Senator Hinojosa filed SB 155 and St. Representative Dan Huberty filed HB 3476. Both bills got out passed of their committees, but neither made it to the floor for a vote. The house bill died on the floor without a vote in the last seconds of the 2017 session as many representatives, including Dan Huberty expressed their disgust at the delay tactics of a very vocal minority. In fact, as the house speaker closed the 2017 session and hit the final gavel the last evening bills could pass, in the wee hours of the morning, he said he did so in the “memory of Cody Stephens”. Scott says he feels good about the bill’s chances in 2019, but time will tell. “The opposition is becoming less vocal as they see heart screening work, and is cost effective,” he said. “A study out of Stanford University says that for every 1,000 kids screened, 2 lives are saved!”
At the time of Cody’s death in May 2012 about 5% of the state’s school districts were screening, that number is now closer to 33% of the state’s 1,072 school districts. The goal is that every district at least offers the opportunity to their students to be heart screened. “Let’s put the decision in parents’ court,” Stephens said.