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Guarding against sudden cardiac arrest in the young

5:58 PM, Apr 7, 2013   |    comments
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(AP file)

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA -- He was already six feet tall at only 12-years-old. But Jeremy Nelson's father Herbert said he didn't necessarily want his son focused on basketball alone.

"He told me once he wanted to be a basketball player," Nelson said. "I told him never want to be a basketball player; you want to be something else, and if along the way your talents allow you the opportunity to go to college to become a professional, it's another ball game."

That attitude led Nelson's daughter to a full ride playing basketball for Notre Dame. Jeremy Nelson seemed to be on the same track, until he took a rest during an all star game in January. His father said he seemed like a perfectly healthy kid, and had even played three games already that day.

"He just kind of slid out of the chair, at that point that was one of the worst days of my life," Nelson said.

Jeremy was dead, it was sudden cardiac arrest.

His father said while he never has a day where he doesn't think if his son, it's harder to watch the Final Four without him. That's why he chose this weekend to attend an event put together by Gwinnett Medical Center and the non-profit Simon's Fund. Free heart screenings were given to more than 300 kids during Sunday's event.

Simon's Fund was started by Darren Sudman after he lost his own son to a heart condition. He said the goal is to make heart screenings as common as ear and nose checkups. And even though he's based in Pennsylvania, he said Atlanta on Final Four weekend was the perfect time and place to raise awareness.

Nelson said it's about awareness, and remembering his son.

"Doing things like this really helps," Nelson said. "I just want to make sure that Jeremy's death is not in vain. So that's why we're going to start the Jeremy Nelson foundation real soon so we can keep things like this going."

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