Parents of teen who suddenly died push for cardiac screenings

RUTHERFORD - The parents of a Rutherford teen who died suddenly are pushing for routine heart screenings for athletes, insisting that the screenings could save the lives of others. Andrew Ortega, who played on several sports teams, was 13 when he died in his sleep last year.

Andrew's mother, Michelle Ortega-Spencer, says that her son, a 6-foot tall standout athlete, was excited for a big game the next day, but never woke up. His death was blamed on a hidden heart problem.

Ortega-Spencer says Andrew had regular physicals, but his heart was never tested. She believes an EKG test may have saved his life. She and his father started a foundation in his name to raise awareness.

Andrew's parents say they hope they grab attention of lawmakers in Trenton through their work with the Andrew Ortega Foundation.

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