Athletes With Heart Defects

A lot of people can go on in life without being affected, or seeing the effects of, and the necessity of an organ donation for either themselves or someone in their family. As of March 2020, 112,000 individuals were still on the organ donation waiting list in the United States. If someone has never experienced organ donation, they often forget that it is an intense battle many people face, and often forget even the people we view as superheroes experience these battles just like the rest of us. There is a long list of professional athletes that have been affected either directly or within their family by the need for someone to undergo a transplant, and this just goes to show that when it comes to conditions such as this, they are affected just as we are, so they too understand the importance of regular well-being checkups and screenings.

One of the most notable examples of organ donation affecting professional athletes is when two former Dallas Cowboys underwent the procedure. Everson Walls gave his kidney to fellow former teammate Ron Springs. Although they were no longer on the professional field, this was widely noticed in the professional athlete arena because of the sacrifice one teammate made for another. But not all athletes have been finished with competing when they undergo such dramatic procedures. In 2002 Chris Klug, a U.S. snowboarder, competed in the 2002 winter Olympics only 19 months after receiving a liver transplant. In 1992, PGA golfer Erik Compton received a heart transplant, and in 2001 he went pro. This is yet another example that although these challenges may be intimidating, it is possible to fight and overcome.

Organ donation can affect anyone and everyone, whether that is professional athletes or people you know closely, but this is exactly why we as an organization urge people to consistently go in for their check-ups, but also to register as an organ donor, because you never know when someone may need one.

-Bri Loughridge, Alexander’s Hope Intern