Heart condition forces young wrestler to quit

Heart condition forces young wrestler to quit

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. -

Jordan Hardin has won countless matches on the wrestling mat, both at the state and national levels. But no one could have imagined that doing what he loved more than anything could have taken his life.

They say a good athlete puts their heart and soul into their sport. Jordan, an 11-year-old 5th grader, is a good example.

"He's got drive, he's got dedication," said North Cobb High School wrestling coach Sean Hage.

"I was real proud of him because you know he always had a fight in him. He always figured out a way to win on the mat," said Jordan's father, Dwayne Hardin.

But after being diagnosed with a condition called CPTY, it was his heart that ended up taking him out of his beloved sport of wrestling.

Hardin's condition causes him to have irregular heartbeats, and puts him at high risk for sudden death. It's why he had to have a defibrillator implanted in his chest. But had Jordan not been diagnosed when he was, things may have turned out much worse.

His dad, Dwayne, has been coaching him since he was five. When Jordan started slowing down about three months ago, he just thought he was out of shape and needed to be pushed harder

"There were times when we would go all out for three and four hours and then you know, everything was ok. So we didn't think anything about it, but we could've killed him," said Dwayne.

Hage says Jordan used to practice with the varsity team for training purposes, but now he goes to stay involved. The high school wrestlers are much older than he is, but they still look up to him and so does Hage.

"North Cobb's wrestling tradition, we're still building, and I was really hoping to have Jordan lead that and really be a person that the other guys can model after," said Hage.

Jordan says the wrestlers smile when he teaches them something, and they end up winning.

"Everything has a reason, and this reason is to keep me alive for a couple more years," said Jordan.

Hage says he's seen several young athletes with heart issues actually collapse in the middle of a game. Sometimes there are no symptoms, and the heart abnormality can trigger a sudden cardiac arrest in seemingly healthy kids.

The bottom line is pay attention to your children. If they have breathing problems and get fatigued easily, you may want to check in with your doctor.

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