Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Bart Young/Colorado Rapids

Rapids Sidekicks focus on heart health at concourse booth during Saturday’s game

As the summer comes to an end, that means the start of school, new sports seasons, after-school activities and plenty of activity for kids. This Saturday, the Rapids Sidekicks and The For Elysa Foundation will host a “Back To School Heart Check Up” booth at the top of section 130 to help educate kids and parents on the importance of cardiac health.

“We’re looking to raise awareness of potential cardiac conditions that could be present in children and young adults, especially active young adults, who might not typically be looking for signs or know what to look for,” said Jana Rojas, the founder of The For Elysa Foundation, member of the Rapids Sidekicks, and wife of Colorado’s Head Athletic Trainer Jaime Rojas.

“We want to alert people to signs that something may be a little off, which can be seen in your medical history, how you’ve been feeling, over the course of an illness or even during an activity, like training for your first marathon or soccer practice. There are some red flag warnings that may be worth a check-in with you or your kid’s physician to discuss heart health.”

This topic is particularly close to the heart for the Rojas family, who lost nearly 3-year-old Elysa Rojas to undiagnosed viral myocarditis in January of 2013. Through their healing, Jaime and Jana created The For Elysa Foundation to educate families about the importance of heart health, cardiac screenings, and continually being on the lookout for warning signs of myocarditis or other heart conditions that can be present in otherwise healthy individuals.

At the booth on Saturday, there will be information for parents about what signs to look for and simple evaluations that can be done when suspicion arises that something may be wrong. There will also be volunteers at the booth to demonstrate proper CPR technique and AED use.

“We want to focus on CPR and AEDs because, most times, there isn’t a professional doctor or athletic trainer with you when something happens. Being alert to where AEDs are at schools and in public places, as well as how to use them, can save lives.”

When fans stop by the booth at the top of section 130, they will also be able to donate to The For Elysa Foundation and enter into a drawing to win an adidas Brazuca ball and a current jersey signed by the 2014 Colorado Rapids. Donations are not mandatory to enter, and all funds raised will benefit the Myocarditis Foundation.

The booth will run from the time gates open, approximately 5.30 p.m., until the end of halftime. The winners of the drawings will be contacted that evening with instructions to claim their prize.

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