Notre Dame’s Hegarty sidelined by stroke from “holes” in heart


Athletes- Parents- Coaches- Trainers – KNOW-STROKE !!

I hope Matt makes a quick return to the game he loves. I also sincerely hope the sports community in particular hear Matt’s stroke story and realize that stroke can happen to young athletes.  Finally, I urge trainers, parents, coaches AND physicians NOT to simply sit on the sidelines and dismiss obvious stroke symptoms“.

-David Dansereau for

It is reported that the  “heart” that Matt Hegarty showed on the field while playing football for Aztec High School helped him earn a football scholarship at Notre Dame. It also has  been determined that it is in fact his heart that kept him out of this past Monday’s BCS national championship game.

Notre Dame's Matt Hegarty has stroke from Holes in Heart
Notre Dame’s Matt Hegarty has stroke from Holes in Heart

Hegarty, is a 2011 graduate of Aztec High School, and played in the 12-0 Irish’s first nine games, but he suffered a mini-stroke Nov. 8 and he hasn’t played a game since. The 20-year-old offensive lineman underwent heart surgery Dec. 14 to repair two holes in his heart that he has had since birth.

It is reported that Hegarty suffered symptoms such as shortness of breath and the inability to talk or write. Those symptoms lingered on for nearly a day before he went to team doctors for an evaluation.

As reported in the article for ABQJournal, Hegarty commented  It was pretty scary. I had heard stories about people who have had strokes and it flashed in my mind for a second that I might be having one. But I thought I was 20 and in good health and it couldn’t be a stroke,” he said. “I talked to the trainers and they were keeping an eye out on me, but my symptoms seemed to get better”.

Know-Stroke Warning Signs

It is reported the  next day in warmups before practice, Hegarty’s symptoms got worse and the team doctor ran some tests.  It was only then that the 20 year old was sent to the hospital where they determined he had ruled in for a stroke.

Hegarty’s goal is to return to football next season.  Hegarty was reminded of another football player that made a return from stroke to return to the NFL.  Former New England Patriot and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi.

It was Notre Dame starting center Braxton Cave who first asked, “Didn’t Tedy Bruschi have that?”

“That short comment was huge news to me, to know another football guy had this happen and come back healthy to play again,” Matt Hegarty said. “He had a hole in his heart and suffered a much more severe stroke.

[Sidebar] As I have said time and time again, there are many Bright young Minds that connect with Tedy Bruschi’s stroke recovery story as illustrated again here with Matt’s story.  That is why I still feel Tedy and the “Bruschi Factor” could be having a legendary impact on kids stroke awareness.  So Tedy, if you are reading this,  -it is time to step it up!

David Dansereau at

David Dansereau,MSPT

Matt Hegarty Stroke Story Sources:“factor”-could-have-legendary-impact-on-kids-stroke-awareness/

Published by David Dansereau

Licensed Physical Therapist, Nutritionist and Author in private consulting practice at PTC Physical Therapy Consulting and SmartMovesPT. is my blog and members resource to raise stroke awareness and educate the public about reducing stroke risk as well as provide tips, tools and review new technologies for stroke recovery. Learn about my book, Body in Balance sold on Amazon at

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