Doctors Detect Heart Problem in Youth Soccer Player

One of the more common heart problems is one that often goes undetected, even in young athletes.  

A heart arrhythmia, or improper beating of the heart, can be caused by a number of things, but a Dallas-area 15-year-old is lucky doctors caught hers in time.

Kendal Daniels plays forward on her soccer team.

"l love scoring the goals," she said.

However, it was off the soccer field, where Kendal felt something off with her body.

"I had a lot of dizziness and I could feel my heart beating a little bit faster than it should, but mostly dizziness," she said as she described what she calls "episodes."

Kendal's mother, Andrea, at first thought the symptoms were the result of physical exertion and stress, but noticed the episodes continued at home, while Kendal was at rest.

"We were eating and all of a sudden I look at her and her face was red and flush and I asked Kendal what's wrong. She said 'I'm having one of those episodes,'" Andrea said about the moment she decided to take Kendal to the doctor.

Doctors at Medical City Dallas said Kendal had ventricular tachycardia, a short circuit inside the heart, explained Dr.Rajeev Joshi, who added that it can be deadly.

"A lot of times, when people die suddenly on the field, it is due to malignant ventricular arrhythmia," said Joshi.

"This is the type of arrhythmia and the type of heart condition that you see people dropping down on the field and dying or needing defibrillating from," said Andrea.

Doctors caught Kendal's ventricular tachycardia just in the nick of time.

"By the time we were getting ready for surgery, she wasn't able to get up to go to the bathroom without having these lethal rhythms that people die from daily," said Andrea.

But now, a year later, Kendal is back on the field and says she feels better than she has in a long time.

Andrea wonders if a routine EKG would have detected Kendal's heart problem.

"If she would have had an EKG at the beginning of soccer, we would have looked further and wouldn’t have progressed as much as it has," she said. "It takes five minutes to get an EKG on our kids. Even if it’s one person that we save, it’s one person, and it could have been my daughter."

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