EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 4, 2013

Second chance

Hillies' Broderick happy to be swimming after childhood heart surgery

With the Division 1 state swimming meet less than two weeks away, the Brodericks, Lisa and Bill, are probably getting ready to celebrate again.

Only this year, it will be a different kind of celebration.

A year ago, the Brodericks watched as oldest daughter Sarah, a Haverhill High senior at the time, captured state titles in both the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, giving her three state crowns in two years. She’s enjoying a fine freshman season this fall at UNH. Sarah was also on two placing relays, the 200 medley (third) and 400 freestyle (fourth) as was younger sister Meaghan, who is now a senior for the Hillies.

Meaghan will be back again, as will promising younger sister and freshman Caitlin, and she should do well, although it’s unlikely she’ll be a state champion.

Nevertheless, Bill and Lisa will be celebrating anything that Meaghan accomplishes, even if it’s just competing.

When Meaghan was 10 years-old, she started having breathing problems and passing out.

One day in the summer, she fainted and, at first, wouldn’t wake up.

Initial tests didn’t detect a serious problem but a neighbor and nurse, Kristen Messer, suggested that initial EKG results be studied by Mark Josephson, a well known cardiologist.

Josephson did just that and recommended immediate heart surgery because she had a condition known as Anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery. (AAOCA) which is a rare heart anomaly with a high risk of sudden death in children.

Basically, what it meant was that one of Meaghan’s two arteries to the heart was not in the proper position and had to be transplanted to the correct location.

“I only remember bits and pieces but I remember I was scared of the surgery,” said Meaghan. “But I know now that I had some of the best doctors you can have.”

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