We all have someone or something that motivates us – it’s who we play for. Our motivation is to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, the #1 cause of death for student athletes.
If you believe cardiac screenings should be provided for Florida's student athletes, express your support by entering your name, email address and zip code below.
Contact collection is for tallying purposes only - we will not share your information with anyone else.
The standard school physical just isn't enough to find problems in a student's heart. More athletes die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest than any other cause, and most show no symptoms and have no history of heart problems. Studies show physicals are only 1% effective, but adding a simple electrocardiogram (ECG, also known as EKG) catches up to 94% of heart issues.
Who We Play For brings our equipment and trained staff to your school. Each ECG test is completely painless and easy to conduct - it only takes about 3-4 minutes per person. ECGs are interpreted by our staff Cardiologists who have specific training in reading student athlete ECGs. You’ll get the results back within 3-5 business days, along with information to share with the families of those students who might need follow up care.
As a non-profit, we do everything we can to keep costs down. We charge $25/person and will use the appropriated funds to sponsor student athletes who otherwise cannot afford to have their heart screened.
Jonathan and I wanted to personally let you know how THANKFUL we are to Athletic Trainer Joe Manning, THS, WHO WE PLAY FOR & the donors that made the HEART SCREENING a possibility at the Sports Physical May 16 at Titusville High School. It LITERALLY saved our sons life!
During the school physical we took the opportunity to have the free heart screening done as well. A few days later I got a call from Joe letting me know James’s screening was flagged as high risk. Joe explained it to me and worked hard all weekend to get more information, a copy of the screening and even helped me line up an appointment with a cardiologist. We took our son into a cardiologist for further testing and he has been diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. And although we are terribly disappointed that this has been his diagnosis....because honestly my son LOVES basketball and was so looking forward to starting summer workouts with the team....we are FOREVER GRATEFUL that WHO WE PLAY FOR, and Joe made sure they were there to catch this.
He has zero signs and symptoms, which is typically the case. After several test, including a stress test it is clear that this has SAVED HIS LIFE!! This is the type of thing where an athlete dies unexpectedly on the field or court with no warning. I am so thankful I am talking to cardiologist instead of the funeral home. Which is the reality of all of this. We are working alongside them to gather all the pieces and figure out how to treat & manage this. Life looks a lot different this summer but they key word is LIFE! We cannot thank our trainer Joe, Who We Play For, the donors and our school enough!!!!PLEASE CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS AVAILABLE FOR ALL STUDENT ATHLETES! I cannot imagine what could have happened if it had not been for this screening. IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY SPENT....it saved our son and I know it can save other students lives as well!
This has been the best decision that I have ever made in regards to student heath!!! Working with Who We Play For has been an incredible experience. They are able to work with your schedule and demands of accomplishing your goals. I've never been more impressed with the work that Evan does for the organization. He has been an awesome asset to work with.
When we lost Zac last year to SCA we were devastated and confused. How could a life so precious end so suddenly? Last week we were able to offer ECG tests for the kids from the Seahawks where Zac was a player. If we have to mourn the loss then we will do anything we can to prevent another tragedy. Thank you to the wonderful people from Who We Play For.
I was diagnosed with ARVD when I was 20 years old. I had been playing tennis my whole life; I
competed in tournaments all over the world and had received a full scholarship to Florida State
University. But before I could even start my second competitive season, it became clear that I
wouldn’t be finishing out my career as a collegiate tennis player. I started exhibiting extreme
symptoms that I now know were related to my heart disease. During our post-season, high-
intensity workouts, I experienced several arrhythmias and came dangerously close to going into
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). My trainer recognized the signs, and fought to have me follow-up
with a cardiologist who red-shirted, and eventually medically disqualified me from ever
He made it clear that I was lucky to not only be alive, but to have never experienced SCA in the first place. Most people aren’t so lucky. They don’t have medically trained individuals advocating for them. They don’t even have their hearts screened.
SCA is abrupt and life threatening — and it doesn’t have to be that way. If we screen athletes before they start competing in their schools, we can literally save lives. Not just the lives of the individual at risk, but their parents, siblings, and communities. At-risk athletes deserve to be protected, and we can be those protectors. Help us screen so that no other Florida athlete’s life is lost due to SCA.
Michael was a smart, athletic, and loving kid who always had a well- known crooked smile on
his face. It wasn’t until the day he collapsed on the field at school that we ever thought he had
any medical problems. When we found out this tragedy could have been prevented had he had a
simple EKG test we were furious!! How come we didn’t know? How come no one ever told us?
How come he had never been tested?
We will do everything in our power to support the heart screenings provided by Who We Play For in Michael’s honor. We KNOW that screening has and will save the lives of thousands of kids and prevent their families from having to endure the pain and heartbreak that we did.
If my heart disease had not been detected I may have been another tragedy of student athletes collapsing/dying on the field. A routine doctor's visit led me to a specialist for an EKG and echo which resulted in my diagnosis of restrictive cardiomyopathy. Going from not being able to play tennis every single day, not being able to attend school full time, not being able to have millions of sleepovers with my friends and not being able to have the opportunity to do everything I had ever imagined was devastating - up until September 24, 2014 when my life changed forever. After my heart transplant, life became a dream. It was a pure miracle. I could finally participate in everything again and do whatever I dreamed about without any limitations. I am lucky to have been diagnosed at a young age. I support EKG screenings for all student athletes 110% and I feel that not making it mandatory is a huge mistake, especially when we know that it can save lives!
We vividly remember asking the cardiologist to write down the diagnosis he thought our daughter Cristina had: Restrictive Cardiomyopathy. We immediately went home and began searching the internet, which of course the doctor advised us not to do. The prognosis for children diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy is VERY GRIM. Many don't survive 5 years past diagnosis. That was the end of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of another. Our 8-year- old daughter went from playing soccer, tennis, dancing, playing with her brother and friends to eventually not being able to attend school full time, riding in a wheelchair to get around/keep up with her friends, sleeping a lot, missing out on many get-togethers with her friends and catching every little bug going around. Our daughter was diagnosed with heart disease, the same heart disease (enlarged, thick heart) that you hear of athletes dying of while playing sports. We are so blessed that our daughter finally received the gift of life - a heart transplant on 9/24/14 thanks to the selfless decision of her donor's family. We are forever grateful for her 2nd chance at life. We are now determined to help prevent student athletes from suffering sudden cardiac arrest from detectable heart disease. Every student athlete should have an EKG screening. It is simple, quick and super effective at identifying possible heart conditions that could end up in tragedies if they go undetected. We were blessed and feel so fortunate that Cristina was diagnosed early and that we were able to prevent a tragedy happening in our own family.
As parents, we have been to the edge of total devastation only to be given a second chance by
our God. On the fateful day of 2 February 2016, our 16-year- old daughter, Lexi, who was and
still is an active athlete and high school cheerleader, went running on a treadmill at a local gym
in Melbourne, Florida. Since that time, our family has joined the mission to bring awareness and
education about SCA.
On that night, she suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and through the heroic efforts of some gym members, a defibrillator was used to save her life. We are so fortunate that there was an AED and heroes who stepped up to use it. On March 29, Lexi received an Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator, which has given her and our family a whole new lease on life.
Since this whole ordeal, we joined forces with Who We Play For and have been a part of several of heart screenings in our community. At our own Viera High School a soccer athlete was diagnosed with an ECG and confirmed to have a potentially deadly heart disease. She is due to fly up to Minnesota for a treatment plan. Her mother and family are devastated, but so thankful to our team for uncovering this before something tragic happened.
This is the #1 killer of young athletes. It’s time for us to take care of our kids.
The absolute worst thing that can happen to an athletic trainer is losing a kid. In just my third
year as a high school ATC I lost a student athlete to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). That day will
always be a bleeding wound and the worst day of my professional career. Now I’m the Athletic
Director and I have a photo of Tariq on my wall right above my computer. He still motivates me
daily to make sure that all my student athletes are safe and protected. Tariq didn't have to die - a
simple heart screening could have saved his life.
Partnering with Who We Play For has changed the game for Godby HS athletics. Each one of my student athletes that gets screened is one less student I worry about suffering from the #1 killer of student athletes - SCA. Because we are a Title 1 High School with over 70% of our kids below the poverty line, Who We Play For stepped up big and got funding to screen my kids who wouldn't have this opportunity otherwise. I hope everyone in Florida will step up and help make sure all student athletes get screened and are protected so that we can lower the number student athletes paying the ultimate price.
When I reminisce on that moment when I found out I had a life-threatening heart condition in Fall 2013, all I can say is I have never felt such devastation and jubilation in one moment. To know that I had a life-threatening heart condition that had never been caught for all the years I spent doing track and field since age 9 is beyond me. All the physicals I did at other 4-year and Division 1 institutions never caught the tragedy that was brewing in me. However, I am grateful that my condition was finally caught by an EKG, something that was not introduced to me until my final year of eligibility when I transferred to a program that included EKG's as part of the physical process. Having seen the tragedy that the families of two young men I knew had to go through because they never had an EKG, I am truly grateful that my condition was caught. I was devastated when I first learnt that I had to give up track and field, but now I am eternally grateful that my loved ones didn't have to face the devastation of a potentially tragic outcome thanks to an EKG.
April 15, 2009 is a day I will never forget. It is the day that my life changed forever. After a well-fought softball game, I was sitting in the outfield talking with my coach and team when suddenly I collapsed backwards. At first my teammates thought I was messing around, but when I started to turn blue they knew something was wrong. The athletic trainer ran over and started CPR, but my heart had stopped beating and I needed an AED to survive. Two off duty firefighters who were over at the baseball stadium heard the commotion and came over to see what was going on. They looked at me and instantly knew I was in cardiac arrest. They got the AED and it shocked my heart three times before I had a heartbeat again. I was rushed to the hospital where I spent three days in a coma before having my permanent ICD implanted which would shock my heart if it went into cardiac arrest again. I'm extremely lucky to still be alive today. I can't help but think that if I would have had an EKG screening at some point, that the doctors would have been able to easily spot that something was wrong. I hope one day EKG screenings will be mandatory for all students because you never know whose life it could save.
Even though Claire’s SCA happened 8 years ago, that day is still very much in the forefront of my memory. I think of all the softball games and volleyball games since she was 3 years old, and that by luck or grace, she never once had any heart issues until that fateful day on 4/15/2008. How I wish that there was a heart screening program back then! Claire was quite lucky to be alive because of the law requiring AEDs at public schools. Many kids have not been so lucky. As a parent who has been through seeing my child die in front of me, I would have rather had the testing/heart screening done and then had her stop playing sports altogether. I can’t stress how important heart screenings are and I am a 100% advocate for this in America and the world. We can’t prevent all accidents that happen to our kids, but this is something we can be proactive about and keep them “heart safe.”
My prayer is that no school should ever have to endure the traumatic heartbreak of losing a student to sudden cardiac arrest. In December 2007 that nightmare happened at Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School. Student athlete Rafe Maccarone collapsed at soccer practice in front of his coaches and teammates. His teammates suffered through the terror of acting as first responders which was then followed by an agonizing vigil. When Rafe eventually passed, school wide grieving and memorials consumed our hearts and souls for weeks. Rafe’s teammates turned their compassion for their teammate into a cause. Now, thanks to them, Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School has successfully administered ECG screening 3 times. The result is that the families and we as a school have peace of mind knowing our student athletes are safe. There should be mandatory policies in place for heart screening to be part of the physical process for all Florida high schools.
That moment when the phone call came in, my heart started racing. My dear friend said her nephew, Rafe, was at the Emergency room and he had collapsed while playing soccer. I was in the emergency room in 3 minutes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was Rafe on the bed, on a breathing tube and unconscious. He was very fit and he was the last child I would think of as being ill. When he got to Arnold Palmer Hospital, I met with a friend who is a cardiovascular surgeon. He just kept shaking his head as he was coming toward me. I knew it wasn't good news. He said Rafe had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and there was not a thing anyone could do. I was devastated and that day I stood by his bed with his family until he passed away. If I had known that a single EKG may have helped to diagnose a possible condition, I would have done it. Rafe always had normal numbers and there was no suspicion of anything. And now, looking back..... the Asthma, the tiredness. All very low signs of HCM that could be normal in most teens. Today, I am doing EKG's and I am advocating for screening. It’s worth every life saved.
As a principal, the safety of the students is always my number one priority. When I heard about Who We Play For and the work they were doing, I knew immediately that it was something we needed to make available to our students. In our first screening, we had a student flagged for an abnormality which further reinforced that this needs to be an annual event and we need to get as many students screened as possible. This is truly a life saving opportunity that should be made available to all students.
I cannot say enough good things about the organization Who We Play For. The service they offer to athletes at an affordable cost can flat out save a life. Most athletes and families do not go through a cardiac screen until it is too late; the results they bring to families can save a life. As a current athletic director and former athletic trainer, it is my belief that every athlete should have this done before participating in activity. I am thankful that WWPF was able to offer this service to our student athletes and I look forward to having them continue this screening yearly.