PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) –A North Texas teenager is fighting for his life after collapsing on the basketball court. His family says he was the picture of health.

Now, the mother of another Plano East athlete who lost her child in nearly identical circumstances is reaching out to help save lives.

Fifteen-year-old Aaron Austin of Plano had a heart condition nobody knew about. He collapsed on a basketball court last Thursday.

Surgeons performed open heart surgery on him today.

“It was pretty rough. It was pretty sudden,” Mario Smalls said.

Smalls is a longtime family friend and former coach.

“He’s one of the most energentic kids out of any group he’s with,” Smalls said. “So this is something that is very surprising.”

Friends, family and teachers say he’s one of the most energentic kids out of any group he’s with. So this is something that is very surprising.
Karen Schrah knows what Aaron’s family is going through.

“I immediately sent out emails made phone calls to friends to ask them to please pray for his family pray for his health,” Schrah said.

In 2009, her 16-year-old son Zac suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during practice on the football field at Plano East High School, the same school Aaron goes to.

“He’d played football, uh, since first grade. Played baseball and never a complaint. He was 6-fot-2. 225. Just the picture of health,” Schrah said.

Zac died and a new program was born, the “Living For Zachery” program at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano which screens young people for heart conditions ages 13 to 22.

“I constantly tell myself I am part of a cause. I am part of a purpose and can help our community,” Schrah said.

Since its start, 500 young people have been screened and about 50 – 10 percent – found with potential risk problems were referred to specialists.

It costs $100 and is not covered by insurance. But the payoff is peace of mind and young lives that will not be lost.

“It’s just been a huge loss for us and we wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone else,” Schrah said.

Aaron Austin also suffered a collapsed lung today. But doctors told his family they were more concerned with repairing his heart.

Aaron Austin and Zachary Schrah both played for Plano Baseball Association. The organization has set up a page for donations on its website.