Before the school year, Rocklin “Rock” Beaudrie was diagnosed with Ebstein Anomaly, which is a rare heart defect that is present at the time of birth but is not always found. On Oct. 1, 2020, Beaudrie went in for open-heart surgery, a day his family says they never expected.

Keari Beaudrie, Rocklins’ mother, said the Mayo clinic helped ease their nerves.

“Day of surgery they actually brought us into the pre-op room and the anesthesiologist talked through everything with Rocklin, explained what they were going to do, literally everything step-by-step and in words that we could all understand,” Keari said. “They brought in even the masks that they were going to put on his face and everything”

After the surgery Rock remained in the hospital for four days before beginning his recovery at home.

“It was slow and long which I expected but didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would and it was pretty good,” Rocklin said.

“Just make sure he doesn’t get bumped a lot. He was home for I want to say two and a half weeks and then he was like no I have to get out of here I can’t sit at home anymore,” Keari said.

At his four-week checkup, the doctor gave Rocklin the green light to return to playing basketball.

“I didn’t think I would be able to go after that but when he said that it was a sigh of relief that I get to go back on the court and everything and get to play everything that I want to play,” Rocklin said.

Rocklin plays basketball for Westhope-Newburg’s Junior High team and even up on the JV team. His coaches said the passion he brings to the court is amazing after having it almost taken away.

“He brings a lot of energy to everybody, he’s a good time to be around. All his teammates like him he’s just a good kid,” Hunter Braaten, Assistant Basketball Coach, said.

After getting the okay from the doctors Rocklin said he was a little nervous for the first day of practice.

“Cause I’m out of shape entirely and I was nervous I was going to run out-breath in a snap of a finger and just be out right away,” Rocklin said.

That however was not the case, Rocklin made his return to the court on Dec. 10 against Glenburn.

“It was really fun and knowing I get to play and I’m able to play and everything was back to normal,” Rocklin said.

However, for his mother, she said she was excited but also nervous for his first game.

“Like that first initial nudge that he got where he was on the floor I was like Oh my gosh and he got right back up. So I mean after that first initial scare he is back to being a normal teenager,” Keari said.

Keari said seeing Rocklin happy and on the court again makes all the worry from October 1 worth it.

“I just get goosebumps every time I see him hit a shot because I’m like this could not have been possible without it being caught, without all the support and everything it might not have been possible for him to be out on that court,” Keari said.

The Beaudrie family said they will be forever grateful that his condition was caught early enough to fix and stress the importance of getting the yearly physicals done.