Peyton Walker Foundation Teams Up With PSFCA/Big 33

Written by: Billy Splain on April 16, 2021.


The Peyton Walker Foundation Teams Up With Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Big 33, UPMC Pinnacle and Mid Penn Bank to Offer Heart Screenings to Premier PA Athletes As Part of First Team Practice in Harrisburg This Weekend

First Heart Screenings To Be Held in Over a Year on Sunday, April 18, 2021, Bishop McDevitt High School, Harrisburg, PA

CAMP HILL, Pa. – The Peyton Walker Foundation (PWF), is proud to team up once again with the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association Big 33 Football Classic, UPMC Pinnacle and Mid Penn Bank to provide important heart screenings to the Pennsylvania Big 33 Team.  PWF is one of the country’s prominent heart screening advocates and leaders in providing CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)training and equipment donations.  Their mission is to increase awareness and survival rates of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, with a focus on educating families, students and athletes about SCA signs and symptoms.   The Foundation recently passed legislation, “Peyton’s Law,” which impacts PIAA athletes.

“Our work is the result of a team effort. The forward-thinking leadership of PSFCA Big 33 has prioritized heart safety for their players.  We are thankful for UPMC Pinnacle for providing their exceptional medical team, and for Mid Penn Bank for once again sponsoring this heart screening event.  The collective effort of this partnership helps to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the importance of heart screenings for our youth. We’re proud to be making a potentially lifesaving impact, ” said Julie B. Walker, Executive Director of The Peyton Walker Foundation and Peyton’s Mom.

PSFCA Big 33 Executive Director Garry Cathell added, “We greatly appreciate the partnership between The Peyton Walker Foundation, Mid Penn Bank and UPMC Pinnacle to provide important heart screenings to our Pennsylvania players. With so many unknowns of COVID-19, and its potential impact on the hearts of young people, we believe these screenings are essential now more than ever.  We want to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our Big 33 players.”


WHEN:                      Sunday, April 18, 2021, 10 A.M. – Noon

WHERE:                   Bishop McDevitt High School, 1 Crusader Way, Harrisburg – Gym/Locker Room      Entrance

WHAT/WHO:         The Peyton Walker Foundation Heart Screening for PA Big 33 Football Team

                                     Julie Walker, The Peyton Walker Foundation

                                     Garry Cathell, PSFCA Big 33

                                     PA Big 33 Players and Coaches

(***Please submit media interview requests for screenings in advance to

“Our medical team here at UPMC has been partnering with The Peyton Walker Foundation for six years in support of their heart screening events.  The heart issues that we’ve been able to identify through these screenings validate our collaborative efforts.  We’re dedicated to being part of the Big 33 program and applaud their commitment to screening these athletes,” stressed Michael D. Bosak, M.D. FACC, FSCAI, cardiologist, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

This year’s Big 33 Football Classic featuring some of the country’s TOP athletes, coaches and cheerleaders will be played on Memorial Day Monday, May 31 at 2 P.M. at Landis Field, Harrisburg, PA.

“At Mid Penn Bank, we know that investing in the health and welfare of our employees and the customers we serve is one of the strongest steps we can take to grow thriving communities throughout our footprint,” said Mid Penn Bank President and CEO Rory G. Ritrievi. “We are thrilled to partner with The Peyton Walker Foundation and Big 33 to support their outstanding work geared toward the health and safety of all.”

“Sudden cardiac arrest sometimes happens in people who have no known heart condition or any previous symptoms. As such, it’s important to educate and empower caregivers and communities to raise awareness, practice prevention, and be prepared to save a life,” noted William P. Apollo, MD, co-medical director, Sports and Exercise Cardiology Program, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

PWF: Peyton Walker was a 19-year-old King’s College student pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant when she suffered SCA that took her young life on November 2, 2013. THE PEYTON WALKER FOUNDATION was established in honor of Peyton’s memory to increase awareness and survival rates of Sudden Cardiac Arrest through education, screening and training. Information at

To date, they are proud to have advocated for enactment of “Peyton’s Law” aimed at educating parents and students about the prevalence of SCA and the importance of EKG testing of youth.  Peyton’s Law (only 2nd state in the country to enact) requires:

  • That the importance of EKG testing and how it can help detect heart issues leading to SCA be included in the PIAA form that student-athletes and their parents/guardians have to review and sign prior to participating in school athletics.
  • Schools to include information in this PIAA form outlining the option to request an EKG from a family’s medical provider, at their expense, during a comprehensive physical examination.
  • PA Department of Education to educate about the importance of testing to help identify hidden heart issues that can lead to SCA.


PWF has screened over 3,500 students leading to potentially life-saving medical attention for many students. They also provide community AED and CPR training and demonstrations, have donated over 160 AEDs, and provided over $90,000 in educational scholarships. In addition, they installed the FIRST-EVER outdoor SaveStation in Pennsylvania – making an AED accessible to the community 24/7.  SCA is the #1 killer of student-athletes in the U.S. Every hour, every day, a student dies from SCA. More information at

PSFCA Big 33: The Big 33 Football Classic is an all-star event featuring the top high school football players in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Played since 1957, the game is often described as the “Super Bowl of High School Football.” Well-known alumni include Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Ricky Watters, Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Brady, Jordan Hill, and so many others. The Big 33 has had at least one alumni in each Super Bowl ever played. This year’s match-up will be played on Memorial Day Monday, May 31 at 2 P.M. at Landis Field. For more information,