NATICK, Mass., Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Close the Gap, a Boston Scientific educational initiative created to bring awareness of disparities in cardiovascular care, will host the inaugural Close the Gap Crossroads Classic on Saturday, Dec.17, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The doubleheader tournament will feature Indiana's finest men's college basketball talent, pitting Purdue vs. Butler at 2:00 p.m. EST (CBS) and Indiana vs. Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN).
"We're excited to bring these four legendary basketball programs together for a great day of Hoosier basketball," said Mariana Rodrigues, Close the Gap national program director. "Diseases of the heart are the leading cause of death in Indiana and we are proud to use this signature event to educate the public about heart disease, personal risk factors and steps people can take to lower their overall risk."
Local cardiologists and other healthcare professionals will be at Saturday's games to answer questions and provide a heart health risk assessment at an informational booth. Additionally, free heart health related screenings, including blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), will be provided to attendees throughout the event by staff from Community Health Network. The screenings will take place from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. and then again during halftime and the break between games in the Conseco Fieldhouse concourse.
"People need to understand that despite a similar prevalence of heart disease, women and people of color are treated at a lesser rate than Caucasian men," said Sheila Gamache, M.D., an Indianapolis-based cardiologist. "Close the Gap is all about increasing awareness about how race, ethnicity and gender can affect an individual's potential for developing heart disease and for receiving appropriate treatment."
Another emphasis of the Close the Gap program is to draw attention to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the leading cause of death among young athletes.
Statistics reveal that in the United States, a young competitive athlete is affected by SCA every three or four days. Alarmingly, the average age of those who die is 17.5 years, 90 percent of whom are male and more than half of whom are black. Furthermore, two thirds of young athletes who die suddenly as a result of SCA are basketball and football players.
Close the Gap representatives will also provide CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) demonstrations to the boys and girls high school basketball teams at Broad Ripple High School on Thursday, Dec. 15. The demonstrations will follow a pep talk by former Broad Ripple High School basketball standout and current Indiana Pacer's guard, George Hill. There will also be a personal message about student athletes' heart health from Feleica Stewart, founder of the John Stewart Foundation, an Indianapolis-based non-profit developed in honor of her late son John H. Stewart to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias to prevent SCA in young adults.
Additional Close the Gap Crossroads Classic event and ticket information can be found on the tournament's website at www.ctgcrossroadsclassic.com.
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.
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.
Statistics cited in this release are taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Heart Rhythm Society, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Center on Health Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Indiana Department of Health.
SOURCE Boston Scientific