Thursday, December 15, 2011

Florida High School Lacrosse player dies during conditioning due to rare heart condition

The Orange County medical examiner said a University High School lacrosse player who died earlier this week had a heart condition.
Daniel Valenson collapsed during lacrosse conditioning on Monday.
According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the boy's coaches called 911 after he collapsed during Monday's conditioning. He died nearly 24 hours later.
The medical examiner said Valenson's death was natural. In a statement, it was determined Valenson had an undetected heart condition:
This is a congenital heart abnormality in which one of his coronary arteries originates from the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta. This type of congenital anomaly of the coronary arteries occurs in 1/50,000 to 1/300,000 live births.
If not surgically corrected, a majority of children with this condition will die within the first year of life although some children, as in this case, are known to live into the second decade of life.

Dr. Randy Shuck, host of our Priority Health segment said this is not the sort of condition that would be detected in most physicals. It is very important for the family to know their own medical history -- if a family member had heart disease before they were 50, it's important to get the child checked out.
Shuck says an echocardiogram may be helpful. The cardiac ECHO is essentially a sonogram of the heart, which can give doctors a good assessment of the valve areas and heart function, and pick up any problems. Parents can request their child get this kind of physical.
Valenson had just moved to Orlando from New York to live with his father. Starting at a new high school, he joined the lacrosse team.
"Based on my history and experiences, the team will rise up from this, and I believe that they will play this season in memory, and try to honor Dan the very best they can," Armbruster said.

Neighbors said he was good kid -- always upbeat and friendly -- and was often seen outside practicing.

"Just the day before yesterday, he was practicing while I was putting up the Christmas lights," neighbor Steve Baker said Tuesday. "It's just real strange for something like that to happen."
Principal Mike Armbruster sent a voicemail message to all University High School families Tuesday, saying Orange County Public Schools is working with investigators looking into the teen's death.
In a news conference Wednesday morning, University High School Principal Mike Armbruster said the coach would be out of school for the remainder of the week.
"The coach was trained and ready, and did a phenomenal job," Armbruster said. "He did a Herculean task. He faced the greatest nightmare that any coach can face, which is a player going down on the field. He responded quickly, responded with 911, followed their directions explicitly and did a tremendous job trying to keep Dan with us."

Grief counselors are on campus Wednesday to help students deal with the death of their classmate.

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