Hansen: The heartbeat of AHS track

A pump of adrenaline runs through his body; his heart races. Senior Thomas Hansen looks at the track ahead. Any normal runner would take a deep breath and sprint forward at the sound of the shot beginning the race. But Hansen, with a different story, thinks about his past endeavours.


Hansen was diagnosed with a heart murmur back in 8th grade. As he continued taking medication and carefully evaluating his heart, he eventually switched to wearing a heart monitor.

As an active runner, Hansen had to carefully watch his heart during the track season. “I started to feel my heart race and skip beats more often, and during one workout the monitor caught me going from 180 beats per minute to skipping a beat and going to 350 beats per minute,” said Hansen.


The next step for Hansen was surgery. What some people might find as frightening, he didn’t let it bother him. “But, the whole situation definitely scared the dickens out of my mother,” said Hansen.


The surgery lasted for 6 hours, and when it was over, he didn’t know what had changed. “They wouldn’t know if I would need a defibrillator implanted or not so I didn’t know until I woke up that they put it in.” They ended up putting in an Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator. This electrical impulse generator monitors his heart and shocks him back to normal rhythm when necessary.


Having gone through what a normal high schooler might find catastrophic, Hansen doesn’t let it phase him, except in hugging. “Running is fine to do. It just hurts to hug, which is a bummer.”


Recovering at an extremely fast rate, he surpassed what the doctor’s had told him originally. “They told me that it would be 4-6 months before I could run again,” said Hansen. The device hasn’t shocked him yet but he can expect a huge amount of pain when it does. “It will feel like getting hit in the back with a baseball bat, and getting kicked in the chest by a horse.”
Now that Hansen continues to run track and looks forward to graduating, he abides by a simple lesson that we can all benefit from. “Like every situation you’re faced with in life the only thing you have complete control over is your attitude towards it.”

credit: Melanie Shane