All student-athletes must go through yearly sports physicals to be cleared to participate during the upcoming school year.
But for 14-year-old Rocklin “Rock” Beaudrie a normal check-up in August turned into much more. Nurse Practioner Mark Koivula was unable to clear Rock after he heard a loud heart murmur during his exam that’s when he was referred to a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.
“September 7 Rocklin had an echo and then on the 8 we saw Dr. Taggert and he informed us that Rocklin has Ebstein Anomaly and Severe Tricuspid Regurgitation,” Keari Beaudrie, Rocklin’s Mother, said. It’s something that’s fixable but needs to be fixed so that means open-heart surgery.
Ebstein Anomaly is a rare heart defect that is present at the time of birth but is not always found at birth and can be later diagnosed later in life. His parents said they are just grateful it was found before anything serious happened to Rock.
“We wouldn’t have caught this, or if Mark won’t have caught this it could have been very life-threatening for Rocklin. Could have ended not only his career of playing basketball but his life in general,” Keari said.
“Eventually over time, it was just going to get worst and worst so the fact that he caught it in a routine physical is just amazing to me,” Bob Beaudrie, Rocklin’s father, said.
Rock is scheduled to have open heart surgery on October 1 at the Mayo Clinic.
Since he was little he has loved playing sports especially basketball. Rock said he is nervous about the procedure, but knowing this will allow him to return to the court helps calm his nerves.
“It made me feel a whole lot better cause I get to play sports again and I get to be back with my friends with ND Attack and AAU and all that stuff,” Rocklin said.
Keari said she never imagined her son would have to have surgery at such a young age.
“Hearing that he needed to have open-heart surgery was like a double punch cause you don’t want your son to have to go through anything you would rather take it on yourself than have them go through anything,” Keari said.
After the news of Rocklin’s surgery got around their small community of Newburg, a close friend of the family reached out about starting a go-fund-me page to try and help. Keari said she was hesitant at first because they are normally private people and don’t like asking for help.
“I don’t know, I don’t know how I feel about that cause we’re not people who like to accept help very easily,” Keari said. “So I said I’ll talk it over with Bob see what he says and Bob’s like well it couldn’t hurt and she set it up and I mean the support we’ve seen on there it’s been mind-blowing it really has.”
The Beaurdrie family said being from a small town they consider everyone family, so having the support from not just the Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn community, but surrounding areas has made this scary time for their family a little easier.
“That and just the emotional support, he’s pretty private in that kind of respect as well as we are,” Bob said “Just to have that emotional support and people reach out to you and Dana did an excellent job with the go-fund-me page and how she wrote it up and I think that touched a lot of people as well. Just the emotional and verbal support from a lot of people out there has been extraordinary as well.”
As for Rocklin, he said knowing people care for him is helping him fight even harder to come back stronger.
“Thank you very much cause that helps me a lot knowing that everyone else is on my side with all this stuff happening,” Rocklin said.
After his surgery on Friday, Rock will have six weeks of recovery before being able to return to the court.
If you would like to help the Beaurdrie family you can check out their Go-Fund-Me page.