“Who We Play For” is a non-profit organization honoring a young player, Rafe Maccarone, who was warming up for high school soccer practice on November 30, 2007 and suffered from sudden cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, the next day, he passed away. Rafe had been cleared by every sports physical. No one had any idea that he had a deadly, undetected heart condition and, tragically, Sudden Cardiac Arrest was his first symptom.

What’s even scarier is Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death for student athletes, and the first symptom for about 80% of student athletes is Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Who We Play For Champions, Etta Gibson and Xavier Hendrix, joined Gayle Guyardo, the host of the global health and wellness show, Bloom, to share more about the mission of “Who We Play For” and their personal connections to the organization.

Hendrix was a “collegiate athlete and youth athlete” his entire life and “passed every single physical, but nobody ever checked [his] heart with an EKG. They did with a stethoscope, but unfortunately, stethoscopes can’t check for electrical problems within the heart,” says Hendrix.

Hendrix was “one of those cases where [he] was saved and found with a congenital heart condition [his] first year of college.” He has dedicated his life to spreading heart health awareness and saving others, as his long term goal is to become a heart doctor.

Gibson’s son, James, “has been healthy his entire life,” says Gibson. After passing his sports physical, James decided to get an EKG done. Gibson shares they got the EKG done to kill time, but “Thank God we did because they called us a few days later… and it actually was a save. We found out he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the same thing Rafe passed away from. His life was saved through Who We Play For.”

For more information visit WhoWePlayFor.org.