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Houston father spreads life-saving message after son passed from cardiac arrest

A Houston father has been in Arizona for the Super Bowl this week, but it actually isn’t the game that’s the highlight of his trip. He’s there, after losing his son to sudden cardiac arrest, in hopes of saving others from suffering the same fate.

BACKGROUND: Father who lost his son hopes ECG law will save students from sudden death

‘Scott Stephens’ son, Cody dreamed of playing professional football. Now we’re talking about Cody in connection with the biggest NFL game ever, the Super Bowl, as Cody’s dad spends the week of the big game spreading the word about a simple life-saving screening that may have saved his son. It’s one that can definitely save other kids.

“An ECG makes a difference.  According to the American Heart Association, there are 23,000 kids a year that we lose in America under the age of 18 to sudden cardiac arrest,” Scott Stephens explains.

When Cody was a Senior at Crosby High School he received a football scholarship to Tartleton State University, so his dad shelled out hundreds of dollars on specially-made braces for his knees. Scott Stephens had no idea he needed to spend just a few bucks to screen his son’s heart.

“I spent $1,300 on those custom knee braces,” the grieving father says. “I would have spent $20 if I had known to do it. I want parents to know to do it.”

Cody died in his dad’s recliner at home of sudden cardiac arrest in 2012. Stephens now knows a $20 ECG likely would have saved him.

“There’s probably an 86% chance that yes we would have caught it, and he’d be here today,” Stephens explains.

That’s the message Stephens is taking to the Super Bowl. The week of the big game with media in town from all over the world, Stephens has been invited to share his story.

“We’re talking to radio stations across the country,” explains Stephens. “15-minute segments, get up from one table, go to the next table. I might be in Cincinnati one minute. I might be in Orlando the next.”

The invite for air time actually belongs to Grimes, Stephens friend.

“It’s a weeklong opportunity to get in front of pretty much every major news, radio, and television outlet in the country,” adds Retired NFL Player Randy Grimes.

“They’ve turned such a tragedy, such a terrible event into a life-saving movement,” Grimes says referring to Cody’s parents and siblings who founded The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Foundation.

Grimes is set to talk about his non-profit Pro Athletes In Recovery and his book Off Center.

“It’s a great comeback story, but I think you’ll see in the book that my wife is the real hero of my story. We’ve had the privilege of doing interventions all over the county, me and her. Who would have ever thought?” says Grimes.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Center says in the grips of his addiction, trapped in the darkness he never imagined one day he’d lead others to light.

“We’ve been able to help hundreds and hundreds of former NFL players and not just NFL but Major League Baseball, NBA, Hockey,” Grimes explains. “I guess it’s God’s way of keeping me connected to a game that I love so much.”

As the two make their media rounds during Super Bowl week, Grimes will use 5 minutes to talk about addiction and recovery and give the other 10 to Stephens.

The Stephens’ family Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home heart health awareness foundation gives free heart screenings to student-athletes.

“We’ve done 160,000 EKGs across the state since I lost my son”.

Stephens says 1% of the kids have had heart issues detected. Several had life-saving surgery and one even had a transplant.

He will also use his interview time to stress the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

“We have AEDs in all our schools, at all our athletic events. That’s not the way it is across the nation and that’s one of the things I want to promote on this trip. We need AEDs everywhere, and it does save lives. We saw it save a life with [NFL player Damar] Hamlin.”

Here in Texas, Cody’s Law, House Bill 76, Cody’s jersey number, passed in 2019 making it mandatory for parents to know an ECG, along with a Physical Examination is an option.

Now this father on a super mission is using the Super Bowl to spread his message nationwide.

According to Stephens’ a physical alone, without an ECG, will miss 90% of heart abnormalities.

“I don’t want people to know what I know, the pain and the anguish because it’s too easy to prevent it,” he concluded.

Houston father spreads life-saving message after son passed from cardiac arrest
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