Houston-area high school football athlete dies from rare heart condition

Heart Complications Lead to Death

SAN ANTONIO - A Houston-area 11th grader, Chase Lightfoot, died Saturday morning in San Antonio after a medical emergency in the second half of his football game against St. Mary's Hall.

Monday the medical examiner's office determined that Lightfoot died from complications of an aberrant coronary artery. Cardiologists said it's a rare birth defect that affects anywhere from .1 to .3% of the general population, but it's also the second leading cause of sudden cardiac death in children and adolescents.

"The finding that is always most worrisome in the evaluation of athletes is fainting at peak exercise or near fainting at peak exercise. Those are the symptoms that are always evaluated," said Dr. Richard Lorber, a pediatric cardiologist at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

Cardiologists said it's important for student-athletes to pay attention to those symptoms during peak exertion of exercise. If you have those symptoms they said it's important to see a specialist and get an ultrasound of the heart.

Athletic directors said that's why it's important for students to communicate any pain they might be feeling.

"That's why each high school in our district has two athletic trainers and they're there for the kids to go talk to if they have symptoms or problems and the trainers know what to look for and if they suspect something they're going to send them to get checked and contact their parents and let them know what's going on," said Paul Rost athletic trainer coordinator at Northside ISD.

Right now high school athletes in Texas are not required to get heart screenings to play sports.

(© 2016 KENS)


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