Parents hold heart screening for young athletes in memory of lost daughter

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- It's nearly three miles away from the basketball court in Lee's Summit High School, but Saint Luke's East Hospital is where you would've found many of the team players on Saturday morning.

After a heart condition suddenly took the life of Lee's Summit athlete Emma Aronson in June, her family decided to take action to make sure no other family would have to suffer the same pain. They held a heart screening event for metro athletes in memory of Emma.

Kim Chungong is a senior who played basketball with Emma since freshman year. She is now getting screened for the first time.

"My experience with Emma taught me, you never really know what will happen tomorrow. Always take whatever measure you can that you don't know is coming," Chungong said. "She kind of always looks out for the girls, being one of the older ones. And I felt like she probably would tell me to get my butt up and get over here as soon as possible."

In the center of the busy waiting room is a sign featuring the young lady who inspired more than 50 metro students to get tested Saturday.

"That girl just lived every day," Emma's mother, Laura, recalled. "She was fun and crazy and she just loved God and that's her story. Faith was her biggest thing."

On June 5th, Emma was swimming in a pool when her heart stopped. Emma's sudden death left her family with a lot of questions.

"A lot of whys: why were we not informed of this; why did we not know that basketball was one of the biggest sports that kids die of sudden cardiac arrest?" Laura said.

According to doctors at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, the most common age for sudden cardiac deaths in athletes is between 15 and 20 years old, a trend the Aronsons want more parents to know.

It is counter-intuitive that the youngest and who we deem to be most healthy group of our population, the young competitive athlete, is the one who's at greatest risk," Dr. Anthony Magalski said.

With just weeks until the girls' final game of the season, the team is honoring Emma's memory with bracelets inscribed with "#EmmaLives."

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