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Government/Politics

Texas House Mandates EKG Tests For High School Athletes

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AUSTIN — The Texas House has preliminarily approved requiring high school athletes to undergo electrocardiogram testing for possible degenerative heart problems before participating in campus sports.

Representatives voted 86-57 Monday to make EKG testing mandatory as part of physicals taken to participate in all University Interscholastic League activities.

They did so while Scott Stephens — whose son Cody was a high school football player but died in 2012 of sudden cardiac arrest just before graduating — watched from the gallery.

The national nonprofit Children’s Heart Foundation says 3,600-plus Texas children born each year suffer a congenital heart defect. That predisposes them to sudden cardiac death. The EKG tests will cost families about $15.

The bill faces a final, procedural House vote before going to the Senate.