Holmdel NJ Lacrosse Player Died from Undetected Congenital Heart Condition
Jack Dowd, 16 years old, died after collapsing during a youth lacrosse game at Rutgers University on Sunday, September 17.
His family released a letter posted on the Holmdel High School Boys Lacrosse Facebook page, in which they attributed Jack’s sudden death to arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a congenital heart condition that often causes sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
In the letter, the family writes:
“There was no way for us to know that Jack suffered from this and it was not something we would have ever tested for in his yearly checkups. It was also something that could have happened at any time and was not directly related to how hard he competed in his chosen sport of lacrosse, which gave us some comfort, as we struggled with the thoughts of what we could have done to prevent what happened. There was nothing we could have done, and as hard as it is to accept, we need to try to appreciate the 16-plus years he blessed us all with.”
This is another tragedy that likely could have been prevented, had Jack received an EKG and echocardiogram as part of his sports physical. But, instead, this is another family who lost their child, another team that lost their teammate and friend.
Silent heart conditions in young athletes do not have to stay undetected. Cardiac testing allows students and their families to become aware of these potentially life-threatening heart diseases. And awareness allows for measures to be taken to help prevent a cardiac incident.
This loss is heartbreaking, and the Dowd family is suffering. But they urge others to continue living in the last paragraph of their letter:
“Please continue to keep Jack’s spirit alive for us and with us. Be kind to one another, let go of the silly, unimportant things, and focus on making others happy, and this world a better place. That is how he will remain with us all.”