California boy, 13, who had heart attack during football game, leaves hospital amid outpouring of support

California boy, 13, who had heart attack during football game, leaves hospital amid outpouring of support
Cash Hennessy has played sports since he was four years old and is a competitive athlete (Facebook/Chad Hennessy)

SAN DIMAS, CALIFORNIA: A 13-year-old who had a heart attack in September during a football game, is now back at home after beating the odds. The medical team at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) can be seen celebrating Cash Hennessy's release on Tuesday, October 18,  in a video his family shared with ABC7.

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Hennessey told ABC7 through Zoom on Thursday, October 20, "It feels amazing. I'm so happy to be home." The adolescent spent more than a month in the hospital after suffering a heart attack on September 17 during a football game in Rancho Cucamonga. He added that the only memory he had was from the night just before the crisis.

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According to ABC7, since then, Hennessey has received support from his neighborhood and even several professional sportsmen, who have sent him videos to cheer him up.

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Cash's schoolmates show their support and pray for his speedy recovery (Facebook/ChadHennessy)
Cash's schoolmates show their support and pray for his speedy recovery (Facebook/ChadHennessy)

In a video, Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson reportedly sent his best wishes to the 13-year-old, saying, "You have so much greatness ahead of you. Just keep your faith, keep your head high, keep saying your prayers and just lean on your family during this time." Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Jose Mota also sent him a video message saying, "Never lose hope, ok? Here in the Dodger family, we love you and we wish you the very, very best. You are in God's hands my friend."

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"I still felt kind of loopy from the anesthesia when they showed me them, so I was just more shocked than anything, and now I'm just kind of grateful," Hennessey said. "Every time he [the doctor] doubted Cash, Cash proved him wrong and his recovery was so fast. He was just amazed," Hennessy's father said.

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And there is plenty for which to be grateful. His parents, Brenda and Chad, were informed by the doctors that their son was born with a congenital heart defect. He underwent open heart surgery and was put on a ventilator, but he spent far less time in the hospital than was anticipated. Chad claimed Hennessey's doctor was speechless. "When he started walking, after three days from being on an ECMO machine for close to eight days, there were nurses crying in the hallways," Brenda said.

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Cash had open heart surgery following his heart attack and was placed on a ventilator (Facebook/Chad Hennessy)
Cash had open heart surgery following his heart attack and was placed on a ventilator (Chad Hennessy/Facebook)

The boy's parents added that with all the assistance they have received, they have been able to honour their promise to their son and have remained in the hospital till he left. "We had kind of made a promise to him that we weren't leaving until he did, and for us as parents, that's really what got us through, was all the support and all the prayers and all the well wishes and the messages," Chad said.

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This week, Hennessey's friends started paying him visits, and although his parents were now able to sleep, they admitted to waking up frequently during the night to check on their son. "Overall, I just feel so much better being home, like, mentally and physically, I just feel great," Hennessey said.

Moving forward, his family wants to promote health examinations and early diagnosis in youth sports and wants to guarantee that there is always a CPR expert present at every game.

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