Mass Heartbeat Comes to Abington High

Heart Screening Hopes to Save Lives

On October 8, 2019. Ms. Reid, Abington High School’s athletic trainer demonstrating how the ECG stickers are placed.

Elizabeth Roy, Staff Writer

On Tuesday Oct. 8, Abington High School offered a heart screening program run by Mass Heartbeat, a local organization that specializes in ECG heart screening. This is the second year that Abington has offered these screenings. For students, these screenings are free due to many donations received from families who have been affected by heart disease and two major funds: The Jeff Coombs Memorial Foundation and the 21 Fund.

The 21 Fund is named after Abington resident Joey Glynn who wore that number as a basketball player at Spellman. Glynn passed away at the age of 19 on June 3, 2013 while a freshman at Bentley University. He attended Bentley with a basketball scholarship. One sudden moment while playing in a recreational league basketball game, Glynn collapsed from an undetected heart condition.

Detecting even one unknown cardiac condition makes bringing the program to the schools all worth it.

— Ms. Alicia Reid

The screening offered to Abington High is to detect any heart problems in students. Abington High School’s athletic trainer Ms. Alicia Reid said, “Detecting even one unknown cardiac condition makes bringing the program to the schools all worth it.”  This program can also provide a baseline ECG.  

On the day of the screening, students entered the athletic wing. Patrick Cusanelli and Shane Lavoie, two employees of Mass Heartbeat, greeted the students and directed them where to go. The heart screening took place in the athletic training room and the girls locker room.

The test took less than 5 minutes and was pain-free. Students laid down on a table and the nurses placed stickers on student’s chest, wrist, and ankles. Then, cords from the ECG monitor were attached to the stickers.

Junior Erin Doherty participated. She said, “I think it is very important to know the conditions of your heart. It is a very simple process and you only lay there for about 45 seconds and it is over.”  

Although for some students, medical tests may cause them to be nervous and afraid, sophomore Colby Trent said, “It was very calm and relaxing. There is no need to be nervous.” 

This year, about 100 students participated, down from last year’s total of 200. But that is most likely the result of many students already getting it last year, which was the first year of this program. The results of each person’s screenings were emailed to them.

Ms. Reid said, “The Mass Heartbeat screening was absolutely successful. Mass Heartbeat brings the technology and ability to give students and their parents peace of mind about their health.”

If anyone is interested in donating to help keep this program free for all students, contact the Athletic Director [email protected]