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SMART!!! this young man sees the BIG picture!


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Lisa Salberg
Lisa Salberg
HCMA CEO and Founder
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  • SMART!!! this young man sees the BIG picture!

    He has learned how to be part of the team AND keep himself healthy!!!

    Copyright 2004 Chicago Tribune Company
    Chicago Tribune

    September 17, 2004 Friday
    Chicago Final Edition


    LENGTH: 327 words

    HEADLINE: Even if he can't play, ex-back's heart in game

    BYLINE: By Teddy Greenstein, Tribune college football reporter.


    Wisconsin running back Jamil Walker and student assistant coach Dwayne Smith
    have forged a bond during their brief time together on campus.

    Walker, a freshman, praised Smith for his guidance after he ran for 88 yards
    on 16 carries against UNLV last Saturday.

    "Dwayne is amazing," Walker said. "He helps me with my reads and

    But Walker and Smith never have discussed the obvious--Smith's heart
    condition, which was discovered last month and ended his career at Wisconsin.

    "I've never really brought it up because it's a sensitive issue," Walker

    Smith's parents were stunned after doctors diagnosed their son with
    hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the same heart condition that led to the deaths of
    basketball stars Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers.

    There was no family history of the disease and Smith never had shown any
    symptoms, other than a heart murmur discovered during a recent physical.

    Although Smith led the Badgers with 857 rushing yards as a sophomore last
    year, now doctors do not even permit him to lift weights.

    Smith, the former star running back and valedictorian at Chicago's Hales
    Franciscan who also is dealing with a second-degree sexual assault charge
    against him, will continue to attend Wisconsin practices and travel with the
    team. But it's obviously not the same.

    "The first two games were tough on him," said Dwayne's father, Michael. "We
    tell him that football is a short-lived sport and that there are a lot of people
    who never made it this far, becoming a valuable part of a Big Ten team.

    "The most important thing is that he's physically and emotionally healthy."

    But the Smiths haven't conceded Dwayne's football career is over. As Michael
    Smith likes to say: "We sent a man to the moon."

    "We're looking at different possibilities, other opinions, possible
    treatments," he said. "Look at Deion Sanders. He took three years off and came
    back to the NFL. If the technology advances, football's still going to be there
    [for Dwayne]."
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    Re: SMART!!! this young man sees the BIG picture!

    In my opinion he is smart. It is not worth the risk.

    Although, I know how emotionally difficult it is to give up the physical activities that you love to do. I miss being able to do alot of things.

    But now there really is no way that I can do half of what I used to be able to do. It is depressing. But then again, I could be worse.

    This is just my opinion but since my brother's sudden death, and after I suffered a sudden cardiac death episode before my ICD implant and then a shock from my ICD, I take HCM very seriously. My brother was in good physical condition, he was short of breath with vigorous activity, but other than that he was fine. And one night he just dropped.

    Regarding the article, it is good that now he is now a student assistant coach, that way he can still be involved and yet he reduces his risk.

    49 yrs. old
    Diagnosed at 31.
    Cardiac Arrest 2003, RF Ablation in AZ, no positive result -
    First ICD 2003 - In 2006 lead went bad, abandoned lead, threaded new one & new generator
    Myectomy 5-5-05 at The Cleveland Clinic - Dr. Lever & Dr. Smedira -heart surgeon.
    Currently have Grade 2 Diastolic Dysfunction with pulmonary hypertension & pulmonary edema.
    My brother passed away suddenly at 34 yrs old from HCM.
    2 teenage children, ages 17 and 15.


    • #3
      Re: SMART!!! this young man sees the BIG picture!

      I agree, his decision to wait and determine what precautions he can take before going back on the field is a good idea. Personally, having coached youth sports before, I think that being on the sideline is hardder on heartrate, pulse and bloodpressure levels than actually playing.. he better be careful even if he isn't "in the game". On a side note, what did the "sexual assault" have to do with this article? It is sad that he may have done such a thing, and deserves to be punished to the max if he did, but in the article posted here it seemed off topic?


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