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Christopher, 13 died after playing soccer

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momto5 42 y/o Christian wife and mother of 5. Focal Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Oldest son HCM w/ICD Youngest son just diagnosed The rest are clear so far
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  • Christopher, 13 died after playing soccer

    This was just on the news here. He lives just south of us in Fishers, Indiana which is where our nephews go to school. I will cut and paste the article. The reference to HCM is toward the end of the report.


    Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News

    Greenwood - A 12-year-old boy who collapsed while playing soccer over the weekeend died of an apparent hereditary heart problem.

    Christopher Akunda was playing in the Coca-Cola Classic Soccer Tournament in Greenwood Saturday when he suddenly collapsed. He was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital and was conscious and speaking at the hospital when he suddenly lost consciousness and died. Emergency crews were called at 5:40 pm, Akunda passed away at 9:13 pm.

    The Johnson County Coroner said despite immediate medical attention, there was nothing anyone could have done to save the boy's life.

    Akunda was playing for the Fishers Soccer Club in the under-13 boys division, playing with older boys due to his skills and dedication to the game. Friends say his lifelong goal was to play in the European soccer league, a goal he worked hard toward all the time, since he started playing soccer in North Carolina when he was four.

    He just finished seventh grade at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School, where he was in advanced classes and excelled as a student. Responses from the community have been that Akunda was full of life, had a great smile and super sense of humor.

    Akunda has played with the Fishers club for five years, playing the last two-and-a-half with his current travel team. The Johnson County tournament was the team's last tournament of the season, but teammates say Akunda helped out many other teams as a substitute player and was always willing to help out on the field.

    After his death Saturday night, Akunda's team got together on Sunday afternoon for an hour with their parents at Brooks School park to share in their grief. They shared stories of chris, wrote down fun memories and letters to him and let off balloons together. And then of course, they played soccer.

    Akunda's death is a scenario that frustrates physicians like Dr. Randall Caldwell, the chief of pediatric cardiology at Riley Hospital for Children.

    "It could be cheerleading, football, anything. It doesn't matter," Caldwell said.

    He recommends all children get evaluated to assess their risk. Depending on the diagnosis, Caldwell says medications and surgery can offer a fix.

    "The most common abnormality is a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or a disease of the heart muscle, where it contracts too vigorously and, with maximum exercise, they develop certain lethal rhythm problems," Caldwell said.

    Often, doctors say there are red flags, such as shortness of breath or palpitations. Passing out during strenuous exercise is a big red flag.

    "In Italy, they currently recommend, in fact, they require that every child from the age of 15 through the age of 35 have an EKG prior to participating in sports," Caldwell said. "In the United States, we have not done this. At this point, there are studies like EKG echo, which are all very helpful."

    Cases like Akunda's, doctors say, are reminders that diagnosing a problem is the first step to solving it. Meanwhile, Akunda's family is in contact with loved ones in Kenya, planning services for a young life lost.

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