High number of cardiac deaths among young athletes

Amarillo, TX - An area doctor is pushing for mandatory heart screenings among young athletes.

One area family supports this effort.

"This is the photo of when he played football at Pampa High School...he was 17-years-old," says Danita Salazar, sister.

21-year-old Chito Holguin suddenly died last February from cardiac arrest.

"He had a little pain, kind of by his heart and up to his shoulder. About five minutes later he passed away," says Danita Salazar, sister.

The tragic death left his sister on a mission to warn others.

"No matter how old you are or how young you are, you need to get checked because he was twenty-one and he was very healthy. For athletes now they do their running, their weightlifting and they think that they're healthy and nothing is wrong with them, like they're too young to have a heart attack," says Danita Salazar, sister.

Doctor Eugene Luckstead from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is trying to make EKG heart screenings a mandatory pre-screening process for student athletes but there are still several things that need to be done.

"All of us that work with these athletes, once we get on the same page then I think this will be something to be recognized and be used but we're going to have to continue to work on the cost factors and accuracy of the tests," says Dr. Eugene Luckstead, Texas Tech Physician.

That way every parent is happy with the outcome.

Danita says, she can't go back and save her brothers life but she can help save others.

"Just think you'll save your child and all your grief and pain. I mean ten months ago I lost him and it's still like I just buried him yesterday," says Danita Salazar, sister.