Peyton Walker Foundation to Offer Heart Screenings to Premier PA Athletes This Weekend

The Peyton Walker Foundation is teaming up again with the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association Big 33 Football Classic, UPMC Pinnacle and Mid Penn Bank to provide important heart screenings to the Pennsylvania Big 33 Team.  PWF is one of the country’s prominent heart screening advocates and leaders in providing CPR and Automated External Defibrillator training and equipment donations.  Their mission is to increase awareness and survival rates of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, with a focus on educating families, students and athletes about SCA signs and symptoms.   The Foundation recently passed legislation, “Peyton’s Law,” which impacts PIAA athletes.

“Our work is the result of a team effort. The forward-thinking leadership of PSFCA Big 33 has prioritized heart safety for their players.  We are thankful for UPMC Pinnacle for providing their exceptional medical team, and for Mid Penn Bank for once again sponsoring this heart screening event.  The collective effort of this partnership helps to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the importance of heart screenings for our youth. We’re proud to be making a potentially lifesaving impact, ” said Julie B. Walker, Executive Director of The Peyton Walker Foundation and Peyton’s Mom.

The free screenings will happen Sunday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg.

PSFCA Big 33 Executive Director Garry Cathell added, “We greatly appreciate the partnership between The Peyton Walker Foundation, Mid Penn Bank and UPMC Pinnacle to provide important heart screenings to our Pennsylvania players. With so many unknowns of COVID-19, and its potential impact on the hearts of young people, we believe these screenings are essential now more than ever.  We want to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our Big 33 players.”

“Our medical team here at UPMC has been partnering with The Peyton Walker Foundation for six years in support of their heart screening events.  The heart issues that we’ve been able to identify through these screenings validate our collaborative efforts.  We’re dedicated to being part of the Big 33 program and applaud their commitment to screening these athletes,” stressed Michael D. Bosak, M.D. FACC, FSCAI, cardiologist, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

This year’s Big 33 Football Classic featuring some of the country’s TOP athletes, coaches and cheerleaders will be played on Memorial Day Monday, May 31 at 2 P.M. at Landis Field, Harrisburg, PA.

“At Mid Penn Bank, we know that investing in the health and welfare of our employees and the customers we serve is one of the strongest steps we can take to grow thriving communities throughout our footprint,” said Mid Penn Bank President and CEO Rory G. Ritrievi. “We are thrilled to partner with The Peyton Walker Foundation and Big 33 to support their outstanding work geared toward the health and safety of all.”

“Sudden cardiac arrest sometimes happens in people who have no known heart condition or any previous symptoms. As such, it’s important to educate and empower caregivers and communities to raise awareness, practice prevention, and be prepared to save a life,” noted William P. Apollo, MD, co-medical director, Sports and Exercise Cardiology Program, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.