Health

Ready to Run After Being Sidelined for Years

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At 15, Steven Morton started his first week at Parkview High and began practicing with the football team. On Friday, he came home with flu-like symptoms. Sunday, his chest began to hurt so his parents took him to the Children”s Healthcare of Atlanta Immediate Care Center in Gwinnett. His EKG looked fine and they returned home thinking it was a virus. That night, Steven”s condition worsened when his chest started to make rattling sounds.

His mom, Sherry, recalls how quickly everything played out from there. She and her husband took Steven to the Children”s at Scottish Rite ER. While there, his heart began to beat irregularly and he told his parents that he felt like he was being smothered. Steven was rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and placed on a ventilator. The next thing Sherry recalls is a doctor coming out to tell them to call their minister; Steven would probably not make it.

Diagnosed with acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, and his condition failing, Steven was transferred to the Children”s Sibley Heart Center at Children”s at Egleston. Upon arrival, he went into sudden cardiac arrest, and after 30 minutes, doctors revived him. He was immediately placed on a Cardiac Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine – a heart and lung bypass a machine.

Later, Sherry learned that it probably was a virus that attacked Steven”s heart. He remained on ECMO for four days as his condition continued to improve. A week later, he went home. Within a month, he was off all medications and he returned to school. Since Steven”s miraculous recovery, he has frequent cardiac follow-ups and close monitoring – but no sports.

Now a junior, Steven just passed a rigorous stress test and after 28 months was cleared to participate in sports. Today, you can find Steven running track with his high school team.