HOUSTON — A local father is heading to Austin to fight for a bill he says would have saved his son’s life.
“Cody was a high school football player, 6’9… 289 pounds,” said Scott Stephens, his father.
He never thought this would happen to his athletic 18-year-old son.
“He walked by me one Sunday afternoon, May 6, 2012 and said ‘Dad I’m tired, I’m going to take a nap.’ “
Cody didn’t wake up.
“I had no idea there was any kind of heart abnormality,” said Stephens.
He thought his son was in perfect health, based on state required physicals for student athletes, but he believes an EKG could have caught his son’s heart problem.
“I feel like it can’t just be which school district has it, which school district doesn’t have it. It needs to be statewide,” he said.
He’s headed to Austin to show support for House Bill 677, proposed by State Representative Sylvester Turner, (D) Houston.
It would require an EKG for all U.I.L. student athletes.
“There is no question that if this bill were already in existence as law, many student athletes would have received an electrocardiogram and lives could have been saved. Mr. Stephens, the father of Cody Stephens is certain, that had his son received an electrocardiogram, he would be alive today. Through passage of this bill, we may be able to save others in the future,” said Turner.
“It’s kind of like when you take your car into a mechanic, they basically hook your car up to a computer,” said Dr. Asif Ali, Houston Cardiology Consultants, who believes the tests can save lives.
“Nobody is against screening, people are against mandatory anything,” said Stephens.
He knows there’s a long road ahead, but has this message for those who disagree.
“I tell them come with me a very beautiful headstone out in Crosby, Texas,” he said.
An image he hopes no other parent will ever face.
Students would be allowed to opt out for religious or financial reasons. The cost would be left up to parents, but doctors say in most cases the tests are covered by insurance.