BELL COUNTY, Texas — According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, between 250,000 and 450,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest each year. Experts say almost 95% of those people die within minutes.
Twelve-year-old Andreas Bustoz is excited to play sports next year.
"It's pretty important to me because my grandparents cheer me on and they love football a lot," Andreas said.
His mom wanted to make sure it's safe for him to participate, so she signed him up for a cardiac screening at his school.
According to Parent Heart Watch, one in 300 young people have an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, the No. 1 killer of student-athletes.
Andreas' mom Alexandria Carattini says she needs to know he's OK.
"I want to do everything I can to cross my T's, dot my I's, to make sure my kid is 100% healthy and protected," Carattini said.
The Belton ISD screenings were provided by The Cody Stephens Foundation.
Scott Stephens' son Cody died from an undetected heart condition just weeks before his high school graduation.
"We don't want anybody to go through what we've been through and it's just too easy not to, no to go there," Stephens said. "In 20 minutes, maybe less, we can tell you whether your student's heart is healthy."
In 2019, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 76, also known as Cody's Law, giving students the option of having an ECG heart screening as part of their athletic physical exam.
Andreas' mom is grateful for the peace of mind.
"I think it's just a good extra precaution to have," Carattini said.