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A Young Athlete's Nightmare


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  • A Young Athlete's Nightmare

    [A Young Athlete's Nightmare]

    Author: AdamP (---.sfsu.edu)

    Date: 11-07-02 19:53

    First and foremost, I apologize for the typos in this post when I posted it about an hour ago. Somehow after I wrote it I clicked on something and it switched a few of the sentences around and it messed up the post....Here is what was supposed to be posted.....

    My name is Adam. I am 22 years old and I have HCM. Growing up, basketball was my entire life. It was the reason for my existence and it was the only thing I truly loved in life. Everything else paled in comparison as I grew up. My days consisted of sporadic "practice sessions", the gaps between which were filled by such uninteresting things as classes, homework, and chores. Basketball is who I was back then.

    All my life I envied, idolized, and worshipped my older brother whose life also was consumed by basketball. He was a burgeoning star in high school, recruited by several great college basketball programs up and down the west coast, until that fateful day when he went for his echocardiogram when he was 16. That is the day his life came shattering down on top of him. His diagnosis absolutely destroyed him as it effectively ended his basketball career. Sadly, just two years prior to that day he was told that "he was in the clear", that if not detected by the age of 14, HCM will not develop. Oh how wrong that doctor was.

    My brother did not speak to anyone for quite some time after his diagnosis. It was the saddest time of his life I believe, but few people realize how sad it was for me as well. That was the day I gave up basketball as well. I continued to play, but emotionally I was detached from it. The fear that one day I, too, could develop this disease was enough to make me quit. I did not want to suffer through the same catastrophic news my brother was forced to endure. If I could give up the game on my own terms atleast maybe I could shield myself emotionally from the harsh reality that I would have to face when my diagnosis would eventually come. And that day did come. It came and went with no big ordeal revolving around it. My dream had been effectively put to death the same day as my brother's.

    Today, my brother is an attorney and sports agent based in the Bay Area. He now represents basketball players for a living. We live together while I pursue my MBA at San Francisco State. Next year I am off to law school, possibly at Rutgers in Camden, NJ. I help my brother a lot with his company nowadays and it helps us cope with the fact that our own “hoop dreams” will never come to fruition. But those dreams have been replaced by other dreams and our lives go on because we have no choice. Others with this disease are not so lucky. Many go undiagnosed and drop dead on the court. With age comes wisdom and it is only now, years later, that both my brother and I realize that we are the lucky ones. We are still alive. Every day we have is a blessing. What if we were the ones dropping dead on the court? At one point we may have felt so bad that we actually wished that on ourselves. I know I did from time to time when I was younger and could no longer play the game I loved. But now I’m at ease with my reality. I now am able see the bigger picture and am thankful for what I have.

    To those out there with this disease, I commend you for courageously battling it and exulting in the realization that victory comes when you embrace your life and love the things that you do have. Dwelling on the negative leads down the path toward destruction, a path my brother and I have veered away from toward a path of happiness and fulfillment. I hope my story can help someone else out there with this disease. I pray for each and every one of you young athletes out there forced to face my same reality.


    [Re: A Young Athlete's Nightmare]

    Author: AdamP (---.sfsu.edu)

    Date: 11-07-02 19:55

    Oh yeah, I wrote this in response to Beth's request for stories from young athletes with this disease. I apologize if it isn't that great as I wrote it during a break I have on campus between classes. Hopefully it can help anyone out there who is going through, or has gone through, similar hardships with this disease.


    [Re: A Young Athlete's Nightmare]

    Author: karen (---.dyn.optonline.net)

    Date: 11-07-02 20:32

    It was beautifully written Adam. Apoligize for nothing!! You have a wonder way with words. I truly appreciate your story and will print it and save it for my children. Thank you for your honesty and insight. Good luck with school.



    [Re: A Young Athlete's Nightmare]

    Author: Mary Catania (---.proxy.aol.com)

    Date: 11-08-02 09:13

    Dear Adam,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is a beautiful testament to the potential and wisdom of the young.

    My son died at 18, eleven years ago, playing sports in school, of undetected HCM. He never even had the chance to make a decision about life with HCM. Reading your story has given me the comfort of knowing that my son would have made similar decisions to yours. He loved life, too, and would have accepted it on HCM's terms, making adjustments to allow him a productive and satisfying lifestyle. Now that I have been diagnosed with HCM, too, and have had an ICD implanted, I know that I will continue to make appropriate life decisions to maintain my independence, individuality, and happiness.

    Adam, you will succeed in all that you undertake. You have not only insight and courage, but tenacity, compassion, and intelligence. Above all, you have the grace to share your strengths and weaknesses, which is a remarkable trait indeed.

    I wish you and your brother all the blessings it takes to continue with the same grace and courage that has helped you both along this difficult journey.

    My best wishes,

    NOTE: This is a post from the previous forum message board.

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