Students from BPCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program were on the Northwestern State University campus recently sharing research findings with the University’s athletic staff. The presentation was centered on students suffering sudden cardiac arrest. The group’s presentation also helped to inform the staff and raise awareness on the importance of EKG screenings among student athletes.

Taylor Cedars, a student in BPCC’s OTA program, shares how the group determined a focus for the project.

“Our class had an assignment to help raise awareness for the profession of occupational therapy,” Cedars said. “Because occupational therapy covers so many different areas we had a limitless number of possible ideas. Initially, our group reached out to a local high school football coach with the idea of speaking about concussions and spinal cord injuries, but he quickly expressed a need for more information on sudden cardiac arrest.”

Once the group focused in on the research process, the findings revealed a basis for supporting their topic. “Our class was shocked to find that on average, every three days a competitive athlete experiences sudden cardiac death in the U.S.,” Cedars said.
“ECG/EKGs can accurately detect heart abnormalities 94 percent of the time whereas traditional physicals with a stethoscope only detect 1percent. Sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no symptoms, so a screening is very important for prevention,” Cedars adds.
The project has impacted this group’s future career endeavors and will help them to make more informed decisions as they deliver care in the workforce.

“I think our class will use this knowledge to advocate on behalf of student athletes. We want to educate our future clients on everything they can do to maintain their health. We now have the resources and information we can share with others to help raise awareness.”

The project made such an impact on the students that many of them are taking what they learned and applying it to community service in order to help provide the costly EKG screenings for student athletes.

“Without insurance these screenings can cost upwards of $500,” states Cedars.

Students from the group plan to volunteer with the Brandon Goyne Foundation to assist with future screening events. “Our class has been working with the foundation which offers screenings at a discounted rate of $15/screening,” adds Cedars.

For more information on the OTA program, visit www.bpcc.edu/ota .

Leave a Reply