The Valdosta Daily Times on heart attack symptoms:

South Georgia Medical Center issued a warning this week that should be heeded any time of year but especially during the hectic, often stressful holiday season.

A statement from South Georgia Medical Center claims its cardiac professionals are seeing a “concerning trend as more and more heart patients are choosing to wait it out instead of calling 911 when symptoms begin.”

The decision can have serious repercussions— even death, hospital officials said.

“Health-care professionals warn that if you or someone you love is having chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately,” hospital officials said. “Do not try to drive to the hospital and do not ask someone to drive you.”

Heart attack symptoms can vary but may include chest pain, heart palpitations, arm and shoulder pain, jaw pain, sweating, dizziness and nausea.

Hospital officials say calling 911 is the preferred way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.

“The best outcomes are related to prompt medical treatment,” said Dr. Doug Luke, MD, SGMC chief of cardiology. “Patients experiencing any of these heart attack symptoms should call 911 immediately. EMS has the knowledge and tools to begin effective interventions while the ambulance is en route.”

Timely treatment can mean the difference between returning to work or becoming permanently disabled and death, hospital officials said.

Research suggests if the vessel is opened within the first few hours of the blockage, the patient will have a better chance of survival and less muscle damage.

“Do not disregard the symptoms of heart and vascular diseases. It is most likely they will not disappear on their own. Be proactive and save a life.”

We agree. If you are experiencing signs of a heart attack, call 911. Give yourself and family the best gift ever — you.


The Brunswick News on supporting organizations that give back:

Imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to be homeless. You have nowhere to go, no place that is your own, and you feel like the rest of society looks down on you because of this. It is a life of solitude and loneliness.

The Golden Isles isn’t any different from the rest of the country. We have a homeless problem that we are all trying to deal with. We are lucky, though, that we have organizations like FaithWorks, the Salvation Army and others who are looking out for the less fortunate among us. One of those organizations has grown tremendously since it was founded three years ago.

Saved By Grace was started three years ago by the trio of Honey Sparre, Maria Gamble and Donna Howard. They started by driving around Glynn County in Howard’s car, which was filled with supplies like blankets, pillows, food and clothes. A lot has changed in three years.

The group added an office last year, and recently expanded into a larger space at 6543 New Jesup Hwy, Brunswick. The group has also expanded its service to Wayne and Camden counties. They’ve also updated their name to reflect their wider reach — Saved By Grace Southeast Georgia — with Howard and Gamble as the group’s two leaders.

The reach that Saved By Grace has had in its short existence is extraordinary. By focusing its efforts on the area’s homeless and those living in motels, Saved By Grace has helped hundreds of local individuals and families. The organization and its volunteers help those in need by finding housing, furnishing new homes, seeking jobs and keeping families fed and clothed.

It goes without saying that the volunteers who work for Saved By Grace are special people. They are caring and dedicated to helping the homeless that permeate the area. It is no small task, but they do so with a smile on their faces and sympathy in their eyes. They are not here to judge how these people wound up in their respective situations, they are just here to provide whatever support in whatever way they can.

To do so, though, they need the community’s support. Saved By Grace is currently asking for help with its Christmas gift drive, which benefits families living in motels. Collection boxes can be found around the community. Unwrapped toys and other gifts, like clothes, are needed for all ages up to 17 years old. Donations are accepted until Dec. 13 with nearly 100 children benefiting from the drive. Volunteers to sort and wrap gifts would also be helpful.

We encourage everyone who can to give a little back this holiday season and help out those who are less fortunate. Let’s help Saved By Grace continue to do the tremendous work they already do for our community.


The Savannah Morning News on high schools recruiting students:

For decades now, Savannah’s top high school athletes have proven nomadic, moving from school to school, taking their talents from one program to the next.

The movement has long irked some. Savannah remains a small town, no matter what the population figure reads, and kids play in leagues together outside of school. Their parents get to know other parents and the volunteer coaches in these leagues. These other parents and volunteer coaches know high school coaches. One connection often leads to another.

Recruiting happens. Often times it’s incidental — summer league teammates want to play together, or an observant parent is attracted to a particularly coach’s style or approach.

But some coaches recruit with intention, and for years, few have done more than grumble about the situation. Until recently.

An anonymous tip led the Georgia High School Association, the high school equivalent of the NCAA, to investigate several newcomers to the Islands High School program earlier this year. Those players were ruled ineligible, and Islands was forced to forfeit several games and what would have been a state playoff berth.

Two more programs came under suspicion in the weeks that followed. One, Beach, was found to be playing ineligible athletes. The Bulldogs forfeited several games and a playoff spot.

Expect more allegations and investigations in the months to come. The Islands revelations spurred an onslaught of “anonymous reports” to be submitted to the GHSA, as the long-held code of silence was broken.

Basketball and soccer are still ahead, and most of the top players in those sports compete in AAU and club ranks outside of school. It’s no secret that some coaches in those organizations influence decisions on where kids attend school.

In this crisis lies opportunity, at least for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. The district is overdue in assuming a more active oversight role and establishing — and then communicating — an eligibility verification process.

The task is challenging given the nature of our local schools. The district regularly adjusts attendance zones and offers specialty programs that allow students to attend schools far from their homes.

Then there are family dynamics. Parents unfortunately split up and often live on opposite sides of town. Some children live with grandparents and aunts and uncles. Verifying addresses is a chore.

Coaches and athletic directors must also be held to a higher standard. They need to recognize and acknowledge the waving red flag that a newly arrived star athlete carries into their school and do their due diligence. Rarely will they find impropriety, but when they do, they can address the issue before it kneecaps an entire team.

It’s truly not fair to the other athletes to have to forfeit after all their hard work. It’s just wrong. The adults need to be the adults in the room we pay them to be.

Most importantly, all need to remember why interscholastic sports exist: To build character and promote physical, mental and emotional fitness in participants; to promote spirit and pride in the school and in the community; and to provide extracurricular activities for students, whether they are on the field, in the stands or in the band.

Winning is nice, but the current climate is ugly. More than that, it’s unnecessary.