The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A heart for life

Minnesota man wants defibrillators in the game

Best man Cory Hepola raised a toast to the groom. “No one in the room expected to be at this wedding tonight,” he said tearfully, shaking his head. Brent Hanson listened to his friend’s toast and remembered the day five years before when he collapsed, playing basketball at the community center in Perham, Minn.

 Brent Hanson, who organized a Hoops
Brent Hanson, who organized a Hoops for Heart event for the American Heart Association, is planning a program to send defibrillators ($1,500 to $2,000 each) with traveling, high-school sports teams.
“What’s amazing,” Hanson said, “is that a physical therapist happened to be in the building and began CPR immediately. The emergency medical team only took two minutes to get to me because they were already on the road doing a training run.”

The team brought a defibrillator—and saved Hanson’s life. Later, in a Fargo, N.D., hospital, he was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The surgical team put an implantable cardoverter-defibrillator inside Hanson’s heart, which provides an electric shock to restore heart rhythm. “I am fortunate,” Hanson said. “Most ARVD cases are diagnosed in an autopsy.”

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