Gone Too Soon
(Let’s Be Proactive with Our Young Athletes’ Health)
November 20th, the Pace Sisters and our family and friends suffered an unexpected loss. Our nineteen years old cousin, Jordan Lewis, who was more like a nephew or son to us, died unexpectedly while playing basketball at the recreation centerat Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Jordan was playing a friendly basketball with some friends. He went to lie down on the side of the court to rest but unfortunately never got up. He was discovered lying on the court by a friend. When the paramedics arrived they worked hard on trying to revive him but it was too late, Jordan had passed away.
Like Jordan, there are many young athletes passing away from this ‘silent killer’. These athletes are suffering from cardiac arrest but probably never had any signs to show that they had a heart condition at all. And if they had any slight chest pains or shortness of breath, like many of us, they probably shrugged it off and didn’t think twice about it.
Many of these sudden deaths come from a congenital abnormality of the heart, which unfortunately does not show symptoms at times. Most cases have been linked to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a hereditary condition where the heart is either irregularly enlarged or causes the muscular wall of the heart to be asymmetrical and prevents blood from flowing from the heart when there is high endurance due to exercise. Other conditions that can cause sudden deaths for young adults are congenital abnormalities of the coronary arteries or an abnormal heart rhythm, which is also hereditary.
Although, we cannot clearly state what caused our beloved Jordan to leave us so soon right now (still waiting on complete autopsy report), we want to make everyone aware. So many times we hear about tragedies happening to others and we never think for a second that it could knock at our door as well.
Many of these conditions are not detected during normal physical examinations that athletes are required to receive before playing any sports so they are overlooked. We hope that through this article and many others that it will encourage a law to be passed that all athletes are required to get an EKG exam along with the physical examination before playing any sporting activity. If we can save more young lives by bringing a greater awareness about these abnormal heart conditions then we know that Jordan’s passing was not in vain and God is still using him to continue to fulfill a purpose.
Even though, we are still grieving the loss of our loved one, we want to make sure that parents, coaches, and others become more proactive and make sure these young adults get full examinations before they participate in highly active sports.
We dedicate this article to Jordan Xavier Lewis (August 10, 1994-November 20, 2013).