The date of April 2, 2009 is seared into Karen Schrah’s brain, as it would be for any parent who underwent what she did that day.
That afternoon, her son, Zachary, a sophomore at Clark High School, was taking part in spring football practice at Plano East, where he collapsed and died from a heart-related condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common cause of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in young people, including athletes.
“It’s a completely unforgettable moment that changes your life forever,” Schrah said. “It definitely changed who I was as a mom and gave me complete clarity as to who I was as a mom.”
The American Heart Association reports that SCA is when the heart stops beating abruptly and without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. The death rate, according to the AHA is 95 percent.
Sonia Duggan • [email protected]