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Doctor Talks About Possible Heart Issues After Wrestler Collapses

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cardiologists say they may have an idea of what caused a teenage wrestler to collapse minutes after match.

Senior wrestler, Tayler Pettit, collapsed Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena during the dual finals. Pettit is an athlete for Creston/Orient-Macksburg.

Officials say Pettit had a seizure. Paramedics used an AED to shock his heart back into rhythm. According the Des Moines Register, Pettit’s coach says his athletes heart began to beat irregularly after he was hit during the match.

Iowa Heart Center cardiologist Denise Sorrentino says Pettit could have suffered from a rare non pre-existing heart condition called “commotio cordis.”

“It’s usually is a blunt trauma to the chest,” she says. “It’s more common in males who are playing these sports but it's always considered very rare.”

Commotio cordio commonly occurs in baseball players who are hit in the chest with baseballs. Sorrentino says young athletic males are most susceptible. The condition can be fatal.

Sorrentino is not Pettit’s primary care provider but says what he is experiencing could be a number of things.

“This certainly could be what did occur but there are multiple others chances the arrhythmia came from an inherited disorder or something else that may have occurred; not necessarily the trauma of the sport.”

In any cardiac issue, heart experts say athletes may not immediately notice the symptoms until it is too late.

Doctors suggest all student athletes be screened for heart conditions prior to starting their sport. However some types of tests will not detect defects and some heart conditions are not preventable or predictable.

On Thursday, Pettit was upgraded from critical to serious condition at Mercy hospital.