NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION JOINS TOPS AND PHILIPS TO SUPPORT CARDIAC TESTING PROGRAM
The National Football Foundation will engage its chapter network in a nationwide effort to build awareness and test student-athletes for life- threatening cardiac conditions.
DALLAS - June 21, 2007 - The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today plans to engage its nationwide network of 120 chapters and 12,000 members to assist Team of Physicians for Students (TOPS) and Philips Medical Systems in their efforts to provide comprehensive free physicals for high school student- athletes through the Save An Athlete campaign.
"This initiative is extremely important because it's a service for all kids whether they have money or not," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "It's more than just a normal physical, detecting life-threatening heart issues that might go unnoticed. It's a blessing that there are doctors who want to do this as a service for so many kids. We're working with TOPS and Philips to provide a blueprint for our chapters who want to get involved with this impressive campaign to protect the health of student- athletes across the country."
In 2002, Dr. Paul Steingard, an NFF board member of the Valley of the Sun Chapter, founded TOPS in Phoenix, Arizona, and the program has become one of the largest events in the country that offers free physicals for high school student-athletes with cardiac testing to help uncover heart conditions such as sudden cardiac death (SCD). A leader in the diagnostic health market, Philips started the Save an Athlete campaign in 2006 to help educate student- athletes, their families, doctors, athletics directors and coaches about preventing sudden death through early cardiac testing. With help of the NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter and countless other volunteers in the Phoenix area, more than 7,500 student-athletes have benefited from the TOPS program since its inception.
"Too many student athletes are dying from cardiac conditions that are detectable and treatable," said Steingard. "TOPS is grateful for the support the NFF Valley of Sun Chapter since the launch of the program. It's rewarding to know that the national organization will actively engage its entire chapter network to generate increased awareness and help reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death around the country."
TOPS events are free and include a complete physical required for annual participation in high school sports; a family health history review; and non-invasive cardiac testing, which utilizes an electrocardiogram (ECG) or echocardiogram (echo or cardiac ultrasound of the heart). On an annual basis, the Phoenix TOPS event has provided cardiac testing for as many as 2,500 student athletes, identifying close to 400 students for follow-up examinations with more than 100 who did not gain sports clearance due to potentially fatal heart conditions.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to the Save an Athlete campaign, Philips is glad that the National Football Foundation is joining us in supporting TOPS, as we help to uncover heart conditions in student athletes that may lead to sudden death," said Michael Miller, senior vice president, Cardiac Care, for Philips Medical Systems. "Philips is pleased to offer its best-in-class cardiology systems for this crucial cause and our resources to generate awareness through the Save an Athlete campaign."
On June 9, a local group staged an event at South Philadelphia High School, where approximately 650 kids were screened with representatives from the NFF in attendance. Upcoming events include a screening in Des Moines on Saturday, July 28 and at Legacy High School in Thornton, Colorado (a suburb of Denver) on Saturday, August 4. People interested in learning more about how to become involved through the NFF should contact NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush at 972-556-1000 or [email protected]
About TOPS (Team of Physicians for Students):
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, TOPS works to promote the well being of high school and college student athletes by providing sports physicals with cardiac testing, free of charge, to all students participating in interscholastic athletics or associated activities. Dr. Paul Steingard, Dr. William Rappoport and a group of dedicated volunteers recognize that including cardiac testing with sports physicals could help identify students at risk for sudden death. Since 2002, TOPS has provided sports physicals with cardiac testing to approximately 7,500 Phoenix-area student athletes in over 80 local high schools.
About Royal Philips Electronics:
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a global leader in healthcare, lifestyle and technology, delivering products, services and solutions through the brand promise of "sense and simplicity." Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 124,300 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of USD 34 billion (EUR 27 billion) in 2006, the company is a market leader in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring systems, energy efficient lighting solutions, personal care and home appliances, as well as consumer electronics. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter. You can also learn more at www.saveanathle te.org.
About the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame:
With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. Learn more at www.footballf oundation.org.