Screen kids for congenital conditions

There have been cases of young, supposedly healthy and fit athletes collapsing and dying during a sports activity (Chong Boon Sec student, 16, dies after 2.4km run; Aug 2).

In many cases, the parents were unaware that their children had any medical abnormality.

Some people discovered that they were suffering from congenital problems, especially potentially fatal cardiovascular ones, only in adulthood.

I used to run long distance and do rigorous cardio workouts. But in my early 50s, I had my first echocardiogram done and discovered a slight dilation of my aorta (aneurysm).

It was not life threatening, but I was immediately advised to stop participating in races and weight training.

Is this a congenital condition or newly developed? No one knows, but the new information has pushed me to alter my workouts for my safety.

Perhaps the authorities could implement a programme to screen our children - either at birth or upon registering for primary school - for cardiovascular conditions.

Perhaps the authorities could implement a programme to screen our children for cardiovascular conditions... such a policy will reduce the level of risk when our children are engaged in rigorous sports in school.

While it is true that some conditions are almost impossible to detect, such a policy will reduce the level of risk when our children are engaged in rigorous sports in school.

I hope the authorities will take the situation seriously. The sudden death of young people is very tragic.

Peter Chan Teng Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'Screen kids for congenital conditions'. Print Edition | Subscribe