About Our Foundation

Karen Armstrong with runners, coaches and volunteers

Board Member Karen Armstrong with coaches, volunteers and runners.

The mission of the Kevin Armstrong, M.D. Memorial Sports Foundation is to encourage and enable low income students of the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) to participate in sports by improving the quality of their medical care, facilities and equipment.

We believe that participation in sports programs can provide children and adolescents a foundation for future success. Research has shown that children who play sports have higher self-esteem, greater self-confidence and are less likely to use drugs. Equally as important, sports can reduce the risk of obesity.

Unfortunately, the children of Santa Ana families are less likely to participate because of financial constraints, and even those that do are less likely to have access to quality medical care and proper equipment. Based on the latest census, 21% of households in Santa Ana are below the poverty level.

At the same time, we believe that many people and organizations want to help, but do not because they lack information about volunteer and donation opportunities or are unable to make an on-going commitment. The Foundation has teamed with SAUSD to tackle these problems. We are creating a network of volunteers and donors and providing them with the flexibility to choose the opportunities that are most interesting to them and best fit with their schedules and resources.

To launch our efforts, the Foundation arranged for the first ever echocardiogram testing offered district-wide to all freshman football players, looking for evidence of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). According to the American Heart Association, 36% of young athletes that die suddenly without any detectable warning signs, have some form of HCM. However, most student-athletes in Santa Ana receive limited physical examinations, which do not explicitly test for HCM. In the fall of 2005, we tested over 200 freshman football players, and as a result of those tests, two students were able to resume playing and another student received an early warning of potential heart-related issues. Our goal is to expand the screening program to include more students.

Providing team physicians is another example of the needs that the Foundation is addressing in addition to providing support for students interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare industry and raising funds to provide scholarships to assist them in furthering their education.