Heart condition not stopping Lancaster junior from running


Lancaster High School junior, Drew Ward aims to lead his track team to the State Tournament, however, just a few years ago, he was told he would never run again.

When Ward was just in the 8th grade, running in his first cross country meet of the season, Ward received the scare of a lifetime.

“Another parent told me he had collapsed in the field…and at that point, we ran to where he was in the field, and he was unconscious,” said his father Andy Ward.

The Wards rushed him to the hospital where doctors diagnosed Ward with a heart condition.

“That’s when we were told he might never run again,” said his father Andy.

“I was actually like balling, for the first time in a while…I don’t usually cry that much because usually I’m just level-headed, but I was sobbing,” said Drew.

Ward underwent more tests at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and he was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. It is a rare heart condition when the heart has an extra electrical pathway from the upper and lower chambers, causing a rapid heartbeat. The cardiologist ultimately felt operating on his condition would be riskier.

“They said if they went into that flap it might cause a heart attack or a stroke, and we asked the doctor, ‘If this was your child, what would you do?’, and she goes, ‘I probably wouldn’t do it,'” said Andy.

So, the Wards chose not to operate, and he was cleared to run again just five days after receiving his diagnosis.

“We can’t live our lives in fear, and he can’t live his life in fear of this happening, so he need to get out there and do what he loves, which is running,” said Drew’s mother Brenda Ward.

Now, in his junior season, Ward anchors his 4 X 800 relay team, and he aims to lead them to the State Tournament.

“I just went out every race, and I just wanted to prove something and prove that a heart condition can’t keep me from doing what I love to do,” said Ward.

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