After weeks of tests and consultations with specialists we have virtually confirmed my 15 year old son has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is heart condition that can cause sudden death in young athletes. He will be unable to participate in football and basketball in high school which he had been looking forward to for years. I know I am biased but he really is a gifted athlete and I am heartbroken that he will be unable to use his talents in sports that he loves.
I don’t know what I am looking for here but I know this message board is full of caring people with broad life experiences. How do you deal with seeing your child on the verge succeeding in something he loves only to see it yanked away? I know also I am just using this as a way of expressing my feelings in the hope of there being some cathartic effect.
Fortunately he is a smart personable young man who has lots going for him beside athletics and he’s been dealing with this diagnosis pretty well although I expect it will be tough as he starts his first year of high school with this restriction on his activities.
Sorry to hear it. Instead of devastated you should be happy to have the diagnosis and avoid true devastation. (I understand you’d have mixed feelings, that’s only natural, just trying to point out the silver lining).
I’m sure that’s very disappointing for him, but I’m sure you’re very glad they are conducting more screening for these kinds of conditions nowadays. Once he’s processed the news, do you think there might be some other sports he could try?
Your are absolutely right; this is a sad outcome but it is not a tragic result. He was competing in summer basketball when the we had the initial screening done and it chills my heart to think he could have literally died on the court in front of me.
Poor guy. Extracurriculars can really change and strengthen a kid’s life. Very sad he can’t do the ones he’s most passionate about.
He needs to find a different competitive team. Does his school participate in Science Olympiad? I did that once I left sports (frankly I just got too fat) and it was great - both competitive and team-oriented. And you get real medals! Band is also cool if your band competes, like mine did. Not sure he could do marching band, though.
I’m really sorry about the diagnosis, but glad you caught it! Does this mean he can’t do things like exercise at all? That would suck
He could, perhaps, play percussion in the pit. One of our bass drummers had a broken leg one summer, and they would just pull her out on a platform with the percussion equipment at the beginning of the show (instead of making her run along to help with setup). But, it’s kind of tough to get into high school band unless you started when the music program began. He’d have to have a decent foundation of musical knowledge already, and depending how competitive the band is, he might have to try out. However, he might be able to teach himself how to play drums (or take private lessons for a year to catch up). Or if he has a background in piano, that translates well to playing mallet instruments. But if he doesn’t have any musical experience already, high school band for a beginner is not a realistic option.
My high school band was pretty scrappy, though, we would pretty much hand out a bass drum or flag to any warm bodies who wanted to march.
So sorry for the disappointment but how much better to know! Sometimes players get hurt to the point that they can’t play any more—what do they do? Maybe it’s something your son could become a part of.
We are fortunate that he developed a heart murmur with this condition which led to a more complete heart workup including EKG and echocardiogram. Many who have this condition don’t have symptoms which is why there will still be 50 to 80 teens who die from previously undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy each year.
He is considering golf. It is possible he could be allowed to play baseball which he hasn’t played except for one year of T-Ball 10 years ago but I don’t know how practical it will be for him pick it up at this age. He will also need to get a cardio-MRI to ensure he has not developed any heart scar tissue before he would be cleared for baseball.
My classmate Michel was a helluva basketball player. “Short”, but hey, he’s the same height as Corbalán; when he was on the field, the game became 9 mannequins, the ball and Michel. He got selected to join the junior team of one of Spain’s professional teams, but failed the medical because they found a murmur. His father’s reaction: “AHA! OK, so now you will finally forget about this basket shit and go to law school”. Michel’s: “no I won’t, I want to go to PhysEd school and become a coach!” “Law!” “No fucking way!” “Law!” “My ass, law!”
I once told him “dude, the reason your father and you can’t be in the same room is that you’re like rams in season, you see each other and start headbutting away.” “ :smack: :o Damn.”
He dropped out, discovered he was a kickass salesman and now coaches one of the local amateur teams. And can still out-dribble any of “his” kids.
Sorry. I lost a pseudo cousin to that in high school…hockey player.
Another option may be sports photography or sports journalism. Coaching younger kids and being an umpire would also be a way he can participate without putting himself at risk. golf is a fantastic lifelong sport.
If he gets cleared for baseball, we saw a few fourteen year old boys join this year who hadn’t played for years. They’d mostly been football players, and football got too harsh. Two of them are pretty darn good… They don’t yet have great baseball instincts, and aren’t going to play college ball, but they play well enough to enjoy the game and contribute to the team…and I suspect will play softball on a bar league ten years from now.
He will be able to exercise moderately and he can still do most things in life but he really really loved playing football and basketball (and was really good) and he’ll never be able to do those things for his school which he was looking forward to so much. I always hoped that he would not be a “I was a great athlete in high school” sort of person and don’t think he would have been but it just hurts to see it taken from him without choice.
I’m so glad you found out about his heart condition before a tragedy struck, but I can understand why this is disappointing for him.
Here’s another idea for an alternative activity that’s a little out there: Equestrian sports. The reason I suggest it is because riding a horse is not as strenuous from a cardiac standpoint as a lot of sports that involve running or such. Horses tend to be more popular with females than males, but one reason a teen boy might want to take it up is that it might help him meet girls if he’s interested in that.
Music might also be a good route to consider. Does he play any instruments yet? That would provide both physical and mental challenges while not being as strenuous.
Thanks for all the great replies; it has really helped me through what I hope will be the worst day of the slow process to re-align to a new reality. Tomorrow will be better and hopefully I’ll start to move past this “it must be a bad dream” feeling.
I do not know if this will help, but lately while watching Olympics I’ve seen an advertisement for a hospital that treats the exact condition your son has. According to the commercial, there’s a procedure that might help him play sports. I wish I remembered what the name of the hospital was, but maybe some other Doper will remember.
At any rate it sounds like a very frustrating situation, I imagine you are both relieved and feel terribly for him.
This is a good point, to think of various options. Speaking as a former archer, one of the reasons I did well was because the sport requires a radically different set of abilities than other sports which I was terrible at. This carried over into my golf game, where I was pretty good at putting, but sucked at everything else.
I’m not in any way disagreeing with the posters before me, and I believe athletics to be very valuable (sez the swimmer, wrestler, golfer, baseball and football player).
If he’s bright and competitive, please don’t overlook debate and forensics. And (laugh if you want) if your son’s high school has ag classes he should consider FFA. Judging contests are incredibly competitive and instructive.
I love sport, and I’m very competitive. But honestly, debate, forensics, FFA, and 4-H took me further than any sport ever did.