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California Freshman Tierra Rogers Diagnosed with Heart Condition
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  10/01/2009

Oct. 1, 2009

BERKELEY - University of California freshman forward Tierra Rogers, who earned high school All-America honors at Sacred Heart Prep in San Francisco, has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition discovered this week and has had a defibrillator implanted to manage it.

Doctors at UC San Francisco Medical Center found that Rogers has Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia or ARVD, and cardiac specialists at UCSF performed the procedure on Rogers Thursday.

"This is obviously devastating news for Tierra and her family," said California women's basketball coach Joanne Boyle. "We are here to stand by her 100 percent with whatever she needs. Obviously, basketball was a very precious part of her life, but she has a higher purpose here than just being a basketball player, and her health and well-being are our primary concern. Right now, she can really use all the support and prayers she can get to help her through these trying times."

Rogers first experienced labored breathing following a conditioning workout with her Cal teammates at Haas Pavilion on Monday, Sept. 21. She was immediately attended to by Cal Athletics medical personnel. While under care, Rogers collapsed just outside the Haas training room, where upon a 911 call was placed and she was taken by ambulance to Alta Bates Medical Center. Rogers remained at Alta Bates for a week for both observation and diagnostic testing.

Once doctors determined her condition was cardiac related, Rogers was transferred to UCSF Monday for further testing. On Wednesday, tests revealed that Rogers suffered from ARVD.

"I am saddened that I was diagnosed with this disease," Rogers said. "But I feel God has given me a second chance at life. With the support of my family, coaching staff and teammates, I will be able to get through this."

According to Dr. Brad Buchman, medical director of University Health Services at Cal and interim head team physician for the Athletic Department, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), also called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), while rare, is one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death in young adult athletes. It can cause altered muscle function and abnormal electrical rhythms in the wall of the right ventricle that can often produce palpitations, fainting, chest pain and shortness of breath. In some patients, sudden cardiac death is the initial presentation of the disease, he said.

In addition to the possibility of causing sudden cardiac death, in some patients, ARVD can become progressive, and produce worsening heart function over time, Buchman said. Interventions aimed at minimizing risks to patients with ARVD include early placement of an internal cardiac defibrillator, activity restriction, close medical monitoring, and additional medical therapies when indicated, he said.

A member of Cal's highly-touted incoming freshman class, Rogers was named a McDonald's All-American and Parade Magazine second-team All-American as a senior at Sacred Heart Prep in 2009. Rogers helped Sacred Heart to state championships in 2006, '07 and '08, including perfect 32-0 seasons in 2007 and '08.

Given the risks associated with ARVD, Rogers has been declared medically ineligible to resume basketball participation.

Rogers is likely to be discharged from UCSF Medical Center in the next few days.

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