Carlisle teen won’t let heart condition steal his love for the game

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Jaydon Smith, 15, is a sophomore at Carlisle High School. He plays wide receiver for the football team and point guard for the basketball team. Playing sports gives him life, but every time he plays his life could be at risk.

“We are so fortunate that this did not go undiagnosed,” Jamie Carter, Jaydon’s mom said.

In May, Jaydon was playing basketball when something didn’t feel right. “I would just get fatigued and then I would start seeing black spots,” Jaydon said.

Jaydon sat out the rest of the game, but his mom followed her instincts and took him to the doctor. After an abnormal EKG, he was sent to the cardiologist. “He was diagnosed with HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is thickening of the heart muscle,” Jamie said. “The biggest thing is when he is exerting himself his heart will stop because it can’t get the adequate blood flow.”

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Which meant playing the sports he loved may no longer be an option. “Jaydon took it very hard. He’s always been an athlete,” Jamie said.

“I just kept telling her that I wanted to play. I would do everything I had to, safety-wise, just to be able to play,” Jaydon said.

With the help of his doctor, they created a safety plan which includes having an automated external defibrillator or AED. “His AED doesn’t leave him. He carries it to school every day with him in his backpack. He carries it to basketball, and it sits on the sidelines at his games with him. It is a risk Jaydon’s taking every time he goes out there and plays. It is scary for me, but I still enjoy it because I know it’s what he loves,” Jamie said.

Unfortunately, Carter found out all 4 of her biological children have HCM. Her 2-year-old daughter is already showing symptoms. “Her heart muscle slightly thickened so she will be in the same position as Jaydon,” Jamie said.

Which meant they needed more AEDs, which would cost thousands of dollars. A fundraiser was started to help raise the money and they have already surpassed their $3,000 goal.

“Thank you for contributing to this. It really means a lot to us and what we are trying to do to help other kids just like me that just don’t know they have it yet and once they know they have it they can have a safety precaution just like I do,” said Jaydon.

The family plans on using the extra donations to purchase AEDs for schools or organizations that need them.

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