For 12 years after open-heart surgery for a congenital heart condition, Homar “Chino” Hernandez lived an active, healthy life.
But that changed last November when the seventh-grader was doing what he loved most: playing basketball. During his team’s first game of the season, he was elbowed in the chest by another player and struggled to breathe. Feeling like he was having an asthma attack, he asked his coach for a break after halftime.
When his mother checked on him later, she found her son unconscious on the floor. He had suffered cardiac arrest and lung failure.
After being stabilized at a hospital near the family’s home in Kalamazoo, the middle schooler was transferred to University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered he had a severely narrowed coronary artery.