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Jake West passing prompts teen to get important heart screening

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:22:22 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 21 2013 10:29:46 PM CDT

WSBT's Ted Land has the remarkable story of a young man who underwent a heart screening after the sudden death of a LaPorte High School football player and learned he has a heart defect that needs to be fixed.


We have a remarkable update to the story about a 17-year-old LaPorte High School football player who passed away last month from a heart defect.

Jake West helped call attention to the importance of screening for heart problems in young people, and in the weeks following his passing, IU Health offered free heart screenings to student athletes.

Even though he doesn't play any sports, Bobby Young, a LaPorte High School junior and classmate of West's, asked if he too could get the screening.

“It was just it was kind of a gut feeling,” he said, “something was telling me I needed to get it done.”

He went in for the test last Thursday and within minutes doctors knew something was wrong.

Turns out, Young has a very serious congenital heart defect. Basically, some of the valves aren't working properly and though he's never had any symptoms, it's something doctors must fix, soon.

Young will undergo open heart surgery next month.

“I'm just trying to keep calm and trying to cope with it. I'm just happy with the fact that they found it early and nothing bad happened,” he said.

“I think that Jake West saved my sons life,” said Amy Thornberry, Young’s mom, “because if it wasn't for him, my son wouldn't went through this. God bless him and to the family, too, thank you very much, you don't know how much I appreciate it, I'm sorry you lost your son but you're going to save mine.”