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Athlete of The Week


Change of heart



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Luke Brandel (click for larger version)
February 22, 2012 - Freshman Luke Brandel put a halt on his wrestling season after going to a heart screening held by Clarkston High School and Beaumont Health System, Jan. 21.

He was diagnosted with Wolff-Parkingson-White syndrome, called WDW.

"Usually you have one path for your electrical currents for your heart beating," Brandel explained. "I have an extra one so it sometimes gets caught up in this path and start beating really fast."

His cardiologist said he would have been one of the few athletes who collapse on the field from a cardio arrest even though he is a healthy young teenager.

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"The cardiologist said he was a walking time bomb," mom, Jacque added. "If he was hit or dropped just right it would put him in cardio arrest."

It was a twist of fate Brandel went to the screening since he wasn't going to go at first.

"I didn't want to send him because it would just be one more thing," Jacque explained. "He is a wrestler and football player. The event supported the teams and we support the teams so we went. We did and all this came about. It has been cool to see what came about."

Luke said the screening took ten minutes after sticky pads were put on both sides of his chest and on his stomach.

They sent him home information and for his mom to call the cardiologist.

Jacque added they made it easy and organized with everything she had to do and the cardiologist spent time .

She said she had an inclination something was going on.

"He was doing his homework and said 'feel my heart.' It was beating rapidly," Jacque remembered. "I thought it was a prescription he was on. His pediatrician said to stop taking it. It didn't register it was his heart."

"Sometimes I would have an episode and my beat was 212 beats per minute," Luke added. "It just starts going. Then, it would stop."

Luke had a non-evasive surgery and everything is done with robotics, Feb. 10.

"It is a simple procedure and they expect he will have full physical contact within a week," Jacque said before the surgery.

"It is great because I won't have to waste the whole season," Luke said ready to get back to the mat.

The Brandel family and friends are thankful to Clarkston Community Schools and Beaumont for the heart screening.

"If we can get one more kid to participate and be saved from something critical like he was, we have done our job," said Jacque. "Puberty is the age to catch these things. It is a lot to swallow and take in. I am a paramedic but I am a mom first and I don't want anything to be wrong with my kid."

"Go get it done," Luke added. "It will help you out."

Acccording to Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock, 563 students were screened during the event. Thirty students could continue playing sports and needed to follow up with their doctor. Four students wer told to stop exercising until they had an additional evaluation from their doctor.

"The doctors don't think he will be fatigued," Jacque smiled. "We expect good things from this and positive energy from him and a little more endurance."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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