Grieving dad wants student heart checks to be required

COSBY, Texas - While watching the NFL Draft in 2012, high school senior Cody Stephens told his dad that he would be the one getting drafted someday.

Scott Stephens tried to temper his son's big big dreams. Cody's reply is something his dad will never forget.

He said, "Go big or go home Dad."

Ten days later, Cody sat in a recliner to take a nap and never woke up.

The football standout died of sudden cardiac death. There were no warning signs.

In his grief, Scott Stephens remembered his son's motto.

"Those words resound in my mind," said Stephens.

"Go Big Or Go Home" is now the name of the foundation created in Cody's memory. It's raised $300,000 to help administer 30,000 heart screenings to Texas high school student athletes.

That's big, but not Cody Stephens-big.

Scott Stephens has now made it his mission for every student athlete to be required to have an electrocardiogram or ECG -- the heart screening test that may have saved his son's life. He's talking to Texas lawmakers, asking for their help.

"We have a school physical, it's required," said Scott Stephens. "I want to enhance that physical."

So far, the screenings provided by Cody's foundation have detected nine heart problems that required surgery. Nine lives potentially saved because of a father who took his son's advice.

"Every morning I look at that chair where he was sitting when he died, and it's empty. And I hear his words, 'Go big or go home.'"

Student heart screenings are available for $25 at the Ernst Cardiovascular Center at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. To make an appointment, call 800-328-8542.
To learn more about the testing, click here.

For more information about "Go Big Or Go Home," the Cody Stephens Foundation, click here.

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