NATICK, Mass., Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Statistics reveal that in the United States a young competitive athlete dies suddenly every three days as a result of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The lives of young athletes at risk for SCA can be saved if athletes, coaches and families are aware of SCA risk factors and at-risk youths are screened by a physician. To raise awareness of SCA prevention, Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) today announced that its educational initiative Close the Gap is partnering with the Under Armour Brandon Jennings Invitational, an annual tournament that features 10 of the nation's top high school basketball programs, which will be held at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI on Saturday, January 7.
"Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs and, if not immediately treated, death can result within minutes," said Marcie Berger, M.D., F.A.C.C., a Milwaukee-area cardiologist. "Young athletes, especially males and those who are African American are particularly at risk, so detection is key to survival of at-risk youth."
To encourage event attendees to learn more about SCA as well as other cardiovascular conditions, Close the Gap will staff an educational booth and distribute free materials throughout the tournament. Free blood pressure screenings will also be offered by volunteers from Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital. The public can learn more about SCA and heart disease risk factors at www.your-heart-health.com.
"We often hear that people are surprised Close the Gap is raising awareness of heart disease among young athletes when they appear to be so healthy and fit. This is precisely why we are here," said F. Roosevelt (Rosey) Gilliam, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.C., a Close the Gap steering committee member. "Heart disease can affect the young and the old, and it causes more deaths in Americans of both genders and across all racial and ethnic groups than any other disease. In Wisconsin, it claims more than 10,000 lives each year. However, if individuals can learn their risk factors and the symptoms of heart disease, they can become proactive in controlling their heart health. This is especially important for women, black Americans and Latino Americans who often experience disparities in cardiovascular care."
The Invitational will feature some of the nation's premier high school basketball programs, including Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, WI), Lake Central (St. John, IL), Abraham Lincoln (Brooklyn, NY), St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD), Patterson (Baltimore, MD), Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, PA), Price (Los Angeles, CA), Marquette (Milwaukee, WI), Lone Peak (Highland, UT), and Melrose (Memphis, TN).
About Close the Gap
Close the Gap is a Boston Scientific educational initiative designed to educate, equip and empower communities and individuals to reduce disparities in cardiovascular care for women, black Americans and Latino Americans. Close the Gap also aims to bring awareness to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) being the leading cause of death among young athletes. The program is led by a steering committee of leading physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country.
Organizations supporting efforts to address disparities in cardiovascular care and working actively with Close the Gap include WomenHeart, Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA), the National Medical Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American College of Cardiology and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. Several National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) member schools also support Close the Gap efforts.
For more information on Close the Gap, please visit www.your-heart-health.com and follow news and event updates on Facebook and Twitter.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit www.bostonscientific.com.
 Drezner, Jonathan, et al. Inter-Association Task Force Recommendations on Emergency Preparedness and Management of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in High School and College Athletic Programs: A Consensus Statement. Heart Rhythm Society. 2007;4:549-565.
 "Regional Variations in Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in Wisconsin, 1979-1998;" Wisconsin Medical Journal 2002, Vol. 101, No. 3
SOURCE Boston Scientific