Daniel was working hard to fulfill his dream of winning a sports scholarship to a prominent university, when suddenly those plans seemed to unravel.
In November of 2005, the Ransom Everglades Preparatory School senior suddenly collapsed on the gym floor during basketball practice.
“I remember feeling empty, like I had nothing left to give,” Daniel recalls. The next thing he knew, he was being helped from the gym to an ambulance. Daniel’s family was stunned to learn that the 17-year-old athlete had suffered a heart attack. The cause: a previously undiagnosed heart condition in which his coronary artery was not properly connected to his heart.
Today, Daniel’s dreams are back on track, thanks to the Congenital Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. A surgical team led by Dr. Redmond P. Burke, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, detached and reattached the artery so that it could ensure proper blood flow.
Within 10 days of the surgery, Daniel was on his way home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. And by December, Daniel was being interviewed by college recruiters and is expected to resume his athletic career by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year.
For Daniel’s mother Magaly, a registered nurse, the whole experience seemed like divine intervention. “If it had not been discovered and corrected while Daniel was still so young, he would have had more damage to the heart. We are so grateful to everyone involved in his care,” she said.