St. Lucie County aims to beat cardiac arrest in kids with free heart screenings

Children with their parents or guardians waiting to be seen by a physician. (DOH-St. Lucie)

The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County (DOH-St. Lucie) provided free heart screenings Saturday for students at the seventh annual Know Your Heart Screening event, the department announced.

The DOH-St. Lucie was able to do this through a partnership with the Jessica Clinton MVP Foundation, a powerful advocate for preventing sudden cardiac arrest in children and young athletes.

Jessica Clinton died at St. Lucie West Centennial High School after cheerleading practice in 2003, according to the foundation. She had a severe, undiagnosed heart condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse.

Clinton's condition was not detected in routine physicals during her time as a cheerleader and her school did not have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site.

Jessica’s mother promised to keep her memory forever alive and to prevent similar tragedies from occurring by holding Know Your Heart Screenings and advocating for AEDs at all schools and parks.

Over 275 students from ages five to 20 were seen on Saturday, the department said.

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