Did you know an ultra-elite athlete has a greater chance of suddenly dropping dead than the average person?
We shudder when we hear or read about an athlete dying young and yet it continues to happen every single year. Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, and Olympic athlete Claire Squires are some famous examples. But could their deaths have been prevented with a simple electrocardiogram screening (ECG or EKG)?
For one mother, it’s too late. On April 2, 2000 Maruchi Mendez’s 20-year-old son Ramiro “Toti” Mendez dropped dead of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD)- the #1 killer of elite athletes under 30. Toti was an All American, college-baseball star headed to the Major Leagues.
Maruchi Mendez, author of the forthcoming book Finding Home (Sept 2012, Reedy Press) is available discuss a number of topics including:
· How and why this continues to happen?
· Could we be screening or preventing these deaths?
· Should all young American athletes be mandated to get an ECG or EKG?
· Why the International Olympic Committee strongly encourages screenings.
· How big of a threat is SCD to current and future Olympians?
· Why the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology are against mandatory screenings for young athletes.
· Maruchi’s never-before told story about Toti’s life and why she’s on crusade to unmask her son’s “silent killer”
· Anything else you’d like to discuss.
Her son’s sudden death became national news.
Now Maruchi Mendez tells her side of the story: on her remarkable son’s life, an untold secret and her tireless crusade to unmask her son’s “silent killer”
A Memoir of a Mother’s Undying Love and an Untold Secret
Finding Home: A Memoir of a Mother’s Undying Love and an Unknown Secret, is a mother’s letter to a remarkable son, her golden child, the one who left her too soon. It is the true story of Ramiro “Toti” Mendez, an All-American college baseball player who starred at Florida International University and Miami’s Westminster Christian High School. Toti, who’s athletic endeavors graced local headlines died from an undetected heart condition, without knowing the most important story of his life.
This honest memoir is also about untold secrets. Maruchi Mendez never had the chance to explain to Toti about his birth. Toti was born in Asturias, Spain, and illegally adopted by Maruchi and her husband Ramiro, who brought him into the United States.
Finding Home is refueling the controversial debate over whether or not all young athletes participating in organized sports in the U.S. should be mandated to get an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) and eloquently raises questions such as: “How much is the life of a college athlete worth?” Mendez asks. “Who is watching out for them?” Every year, the college scouting system monitors performance, speed, and GPA’s but it fails to do the same when it comes to their health. Meanwhile, athletes continue to drop dead in tracks and fields by the hundreds across the country. The strides Mendez has achieved in her son’s name are marked by memories and tears. But they reinforce a mother’s love each day and her resolve to tell his story to the world.
Finding Home, takes you through one woman’s transformation from loss-stricken mother to full-time activist as she challenges the status quo for increased medical screenings, fights to protect young athlete’s health and eloquently raises questions about Sudden Cardiac Death and the state of young athlete’s health in this country.
Maruchi Mendez lives with her family in Miami, Florida, and is a co-founder of JunTos Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help young patients and their families who fall victim to terminal or life-threatening illnesses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maruchi Mendez lives with her family in Miami, Florida, and is a co-founder of JunTos Foundation, a non-for-profit organization, whose mission is to help young patients and their families who fall victims to terminal or life threatening illnesses; with the many needs that can arise due to monetary hardship. After the tragic and untimely death of her son, she has spearheaded several attempts to pass a bill that would protect young athletes by assuring proper medical screening and testing while engaging in the lucrative business of competitive High School, College and University Sports. Her quest “How much is an athlete’s life worth?” is still a very controversial subject, and remains an unanswered question. Visit the website at: http://maruchimendez.com/
“Toti Mendez grew amongst the elite baseball players in Miami. His childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player was about to come true. Heavily scouted by the leagues, he was a 1998 All American Pitcher, with an era of 1.34, and batting average of 444. Unknown to all a silent killer struck and took his life during his sophomore season at Florida International University, leaving his family and the baseball community devastated. His death could have been prevented by proper testing during his high school and college physicals. The tragedy in question is: How much is one life worth? NCAA and other entities do not impose these rules. There are not enough deaths to warrant the expense that proper heart testing would incur on these institutions. However, numerous athletes in different sports keep dropping in the fields with sudden cardiac death syndromes.
On a personal note, I also feel that, if anything, it is the duty of the American Athletes who have been fortunate enough to live their dreams, to utilize their resources to help.” – Mike Lowell, Major League Baseball World Series MVP and 4 x All Star.
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Finding Home: A Memoir of a Mother’s Undying Love and an Untold Secret
By Maruchi Méndez
Reedy Press, On Sale: September 2012
ISBN: 9781935806301, softcover 6 x 9, 272 pages, $16.95