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WAKE FOREST: Doctor says 'echo exams' could save athletes' lives - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Wake Forest doctor says 'echo exams' could save athletes' lives

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Holly Springs High School football players practice ahead of the 2014 season. Holly Springs High School football players practice ahead of the 2014 season.
WAKE FOREST, N.C. -

With his walls plastered with jerseys from area high schools, it's obvious that Dr. Mark Galland is a big sports fan.

Galland performs physicals on athletes, but he says more can be done when it comes to those exams.

"My vision is that one day, this is fairly standard," Galland said of echocardiography exams, a non-evasive test that looks at the heart and passage of blood.

Communication on the football field is very important, but Galland said talking about family health history is even more so. He said it's important for each player to provide vital information before the physical.

"One of the most important questions is, 'Has a family member, or close family member experienced sudden or unexplained death before the age of 50,' " Galland said. "That's one of the key questions that we consider a red flag."

"Any athlete can have [an echo exam], but we only do it for those athletes that answer the questions in a certain way," Galland explained.

Holly Spring High Schools Coach Wayne Bragg said he and his staff work to get the most out of each athlete, but sometimes a player doesn't seem to be give his all.

"Is there something really wrong with the kid, or is he just not being tough?" Bragg asked. "That's hard for coaches to figure out, so the more testing we can do -- pretesting -- it would help."

Galland is convinced the echo exam would keep coaches from this predicament.

"If it saves one kids life, it's worth talking about," Bragg said.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

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