The mother of a Texas State player who died suddenly in January spoke with KVUE about she wants to spread awareness of the condition that killed her son.
Will Trevillion, 20, died after collapsing at his home in early January. The Texas State and former Hays High lineman’s final autopsy results diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart.
“Every night before I went to bed I always either called or texted him to tell him I love him,” Will’s mother Alicia Hankins-Harts said.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common form of death among young, seemingly healthy athletes.
“It's characterized by an abnormal thickening of the septum of the heart muscle. This abnormal thickening can lead to a potential host of many different problems, including obstruction of blood flow leaving the heart,” said Dr. Vivek Goswami, a cardiologist with Heart Hospital of Austin.
Goswami did not treat Will and has not examined his records, but regularly sees athletes of all ages and levels.
“Unfortunately often times a simply physical exam can often miss the underlying diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” Goswami said.
He said an ultrasound or echocardiogram are the best tests to diagnose the condition, but they are routinely not included in physicals because most insurers do not cover the tests. The tests, according to Goswami, can cost nearly $750.
Hankins-Harts wants the tests to become required for all athletes.
“Even if it is expensive, have this test because I would rather have spent thousands of dollars doing this for my son rather than sitting here today and he's not with me,” Hankins-Harts said.
The American Heart Association said 1 in every 500 people have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and that it is treatable if caught early.
In a statement, Texas State told KVUE, “Our student-athletes have annual pre-season physicals and receive appropriate testing and screening.” A spokesman said they are looking into if tests specifically for HCM are performed.
Local hospitals do offer free heart screenings for student athletes later this year.
Championship Hearts Foundation will offer screenings April 23 in Georgetown. An exact time and location have not been announced as of March 3.
Heart Hospital of Austin will be performing heart screenings for young athletes Aug. 13, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Appointments are required. Please call 512-478-3627 for more information.