Family and friends of an Ottawa teen who died suddenly this summer said they had no idea he was at risk of a heart attack.
Braden Searle, 14, loved sports. He played hockey, softball, baseball and rugby.
But suddenly, on June 18, the teen went into cardiac arrest while sleeping.
Braden died that night from a type of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
The right ventricle in his heart developed plaque and started to atrophy, causing him to go into an arrythmia. That led to cardiac arrest, even though he was an otherwise healthy Grade 8 student.
“We called him Mr. Megawatt Smile,” said Dr. William Clarke, an optometrist who would have coached Braden this season with the SouthEnd Bantam A2 Kings.
Braden’s dad, Rob Searle, is also an assistant coach for the team, which renamed itself the Kings in honour of Braden. His favourite NHL team was the Los Angeles Kings.
Clarke gathered with Searle’s family, friends and other young hockey players for a charity hockey game Saturday night at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre.
The fundraiser included the Bantam Kings and SouthEnd Bantam Scoremobile, raising money for research in the arryhthmia department at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Fainting, seizures are warning signs
The Canadian SADS foundation said fainting or seizures during physical activity or emotional distress are warning signs.
A family history of sudden death could also lead to SADS, according to Clarke, who said researchers are currently examining a possible genetic cause for Braden’s sudden death.
"They did a genetic analysis, they're waiting for the end results of that for him, but they also then have taken and done testing with Braden's mom and dad and his brother,” Clarke said.
“Is there a chain through a family that could indicate this could be passed on?”
Clarke, whose son Evan also plays on the Bantam Kings, said the tribute game was a success. The teams finished with a 2-2 tie and hundreds of people attended.