PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Last month, a Plano East High School student suffered a heart attack on a basketball court. Now, he and his mom are focused on recovery and urging other teens to get their hearts tested.
Aaron Austin has just been through the biggest battle of his life and he’s got the scars to prove it.
“It’s been a rough road,” he said. “But, I’ve come through.”
Austin collapsed on the court July 14.
“I do remember the day. I was playing basketball at the rec center,” Austin said. “I passed out and I guess had a heart attack.”
He did, doctors say. And he’s only 15.
“Aaron was born with an abnormality of his coronary arteries,” said Dr. Colin Kane, Austin’s pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Kane, holding a heart model in her hand, said the teen’s left artery wasn’t where it should be.
“It attached further, over here, close to the pulmonary artery. And the opening was very small,” Kane said.
Without the right amount of oxygen to his heart, Austin had difficulty breathing at times.
His mother, Sonya, took him to doctors before the collapse who told her the teen suffered from asthma. She never knew he had a heart problem.
Surgeons corrected it.
Sonya Austin now advocates heart screening for students entering school, even though it may not have pinpointed her own son problem.
“What I saw my son go through I don’t wish on any mother,” she said.
Austin had to be revived a second time in the hospital. And later, doctors found a blood clot in his leg.
His mother prayed every time he had a setback. Her favorite scripture was Psalms 91. She was particularly fond of Pslams 91:14.
“You will not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day,” Sonya Austin said.
She knows other athletes, and even coaches, have died from heart attacks. But she believes her son survived for a reason.
“I think that Aaron’s a miracle,” Sonya said.
She thinks their ordeal is a call for other parents to get their children screened for heart problems.
The “Living for Zachery” program, at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, screens young people ages 13 to 22.
The program was founded by Karen Schrah, whose son Zachery died after suffering a heart attack during football practice at Plano East High School.