GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A teen who discovered he had a heart condition after getting screened three years ago says finding out was life changing.
“At the screening they actually saw what they called a red flag and took it further and ended up finding out my condition,” said 19-year-old Mason Tetzlaff.
Tetzlaff got his heart screened at a free heart screening at Mercy Health in Muskegon.
“When I found out at the time and when I knew that there was a problem you know everyday if something strange you feel in your chest or something like that you always gotta think that something is going wrong or something isn’t right. To not have to worry about that now is a lot less stress on my life,” said Tetzlaff.
The hospital started offering free heart screening for athletes shortly following the sudden death of Wes Leonard. He died after scoring a game winning basket for his Fennville basketball team as a result of an enlarged heart.
On Friday Grandville lost a standout hockey star when Ryan Fischer died in his sleep also due to an enlarged heart.
“I feel like the heart is a very crucial organ that should be checked,” said Tetzlaff.
Tetzlaff was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, an electrical problem of the heart that in extreme cases can be deadly.
Tetzlaff said it can cause an irregular heart beat, palpitations, and other complications.
Tetzlaff was much like Leonard and Fischer when he was in high school at Muskegon Catholic Central. He ran track and played basketball and football.
Two weeks after being diagnosed, Tetzlaff had surgery to fix his heart.
“It paid off though don’t have any problems. I can be a normal person I don’t have to worry about that.”
Tetzlaff said he believes heart screenings should be a part of everyone’s physical.
“Take five minutes out, you only have to go once a year. You go get a physical every year to play sports or if you work for somewhere you have to get a physical. Take the five minutes go get it checked out. Its not hard its not painful.”
Tetzlaff said by having the surgery he has been able to live a normal life doing the things he loves like lifting weights, and still playing basketball on the weekends.
“I’m still doing all the stuff a normal person would do. Going to school going to work, playing basketball on the weekends, working out every day.”
Something he is very thankful for.
“Potentially yeah I would say that it did save my life cause I wouldn’t be able to do things normal people get to do.”