Teen's Broken Ankle Leads To Discovery Of Heart Problem

Wednesday, October 12th 2011, 9:17 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Southmoore High School sophomore thought he only had a broken ankle to worry about but found out he had a rare heart condition instead.

Justin Wilkerson is just 15, and he was told he can't play football anymore, no dirt bike, no contact sports at all. That's a lot to take in. But this young man with a big heart is optimistic and positive.

"It is serious, but you have to look at it as the half glass full or half empty," Wilkerson said as he showed us his Life Vest, which is keeping him alive. It monitors his heart.

"I'm sitting here looking at him and hope it could help someone else," his mother, Sherry, said.

She said she's thankful she is able to sit by his side. They both believe a broken ankle suffered at football camp saved Justin's life.

It was at a doctor's visit regarding that ankle that Justin happened to mention he'd had some aches and pains in his chest.

"It feels like I'm getting pounded from the inside like boom-boom."

Justin was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called ventricular tachycardia or VT.  His heartbeat skyrockets and any second he could go into cardiac arrest.  That's why he's getting a heart defibrillator next week.

There are only four other pediatric patients in Oklahoma with Justin's condition.

"I said 'You gotta be strong for me,' and she says, 'OK' and she's been strong for the most part," Justin said.

The 15-year-old with a big personality and an even bigger heart is holding it together in hopes his story will help others.

"A huge eye-opener in a lot of ways," he said. "Hey, I'm alive.  You gotta be thankful for that, thank the big man upstairs that I'm still here," he said. 

Justin is the youngest of five brothers and sisters they will all be tested if needed. He will find out in five weeks if he can play some non-contact sports and run track.

He turns 16 in December and doctors expect him to have many more birthdays.