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Local Cardiology symposium focuses on young athletes deaths


POSTED: Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 5:03pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 5:42pm

More than a hundred physicians and nurses from all over East Texas attended the 11th annual Spring Cardiology Symposium. It was hosted by ETMC Cardiology Institute and Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants. This year's symposium focused on the sudden deaths of young athletes.

"Athletes are probably one of the most fit group of people in the world and when they die suddenly it becomes a big issue," said Tyler CVC Cardiologist Dr. David Hector.

Gilmer teenager Desmond Pollard, Dallas Stars player Rich Peverley and 16-year-old Cameron Gallagher all collapsed while participating in a sport .

"It's not everyday this occurs matter of fact it's very rare, but it gets the attention of the world when it happens" said Dr. Hector.

Unfortunately both Pollard and Gallagher died and their families as well as many were shocked of their sudden death.

"This is a good example of the importance of screening athletes and actually actively treating them before it gets to a catastrophic event," said Dr. Hector.  

Dr. Hector was the assistant physician for the Cincinnati Bangles, Reds and Cleveland Browns in the 70s and 80s. He was the keynote speaker for this year's symposium held in Tyler.

Dr Thad Tolleson said every year nurses, physicians and anyone in the field are invited to attend this free educational program. It's a day long CME accredited educational opportunity. Dr Tolleson said anyone in the medical field can get their yearly education without having to travel to other cities They do a combination of talks from their cardiology group as well as national speakers that come in from other areas and give keynote addresses. 11 years ago they only had 30 people and now they have more than a hundred signup. He said each year the symposium focuses on a different topic.

"We try to do themes that are topical for what's going on in cardiology today and what's of interest to the primary care physicians, but also things they specifically want to hear about, so they will make recommendations from the audience this year for what they'd like to hear next year," said Dr.Tolleson.

Obviously, this year there are many unanswered questions about why and how this happens to such healthy individuals.

"What we're going to do today (Saturday) is talk about one what causes it, two what can we do as a society to screen those athletes to try to lower the risk that can happen to someone unexpectedly and how to put safe guards in place," said Dr. Tolleson.  

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