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Corner Brook hoopster David Penney learning how to play the game with a heart condition

David Penney loves to play basketball with his friends. He has a heart murmur that keeps him on his toes when it comes to keeping up with the grind on the floor but he’s learning to live with it and it’s easier to do when he has a love for the game.
David Penney loves to play basketball with his friends. He has a heart murmur that keeps him on his toes when it comes to keeping up with the grind on the floor but he’s learning to live with it and it’s easier to do when he has a love for the game. - Dave Kearsey

David Penney dribbles the basketball up the floor when he gets a pain in the chest that forces him to head to the player bench for a breather.

When he feels better, the 13-year-old Corner Brook resident makes his way back to the court to do what he loves to do.

The cautious approach to the game is a result of being diagnosed with a small heart murmur when he was a baby.

“I still push myself a lot, but I know when to stop when I feel dizzy or I get really tired,” Penney said Thursday afternoon.

Penney’s parents keep a close eye on his physical activity, but they know his condition is under control so they let him enjoy the sport and wouldn’t let him near a basketball if it was life-threatening in any way.

His parents — Bill and Joanne Penney of Corner Brook — took him to see a St. John’s heart specialist back in September.

The doctor had the young hoopster hooked up to a heart monitor for 24 hours. The doctor told the couple everything was fine and assured them there was no reason to be alarmed.

The fact that there are periodic episodes of their son still feeling pains in the chest is something the parents plan on sharing with the specialist. They want reassurance that basketball is a safe activity for David.

His mom watches her son closely from the sidelines. She is concerned about his safety but knows it’s under control for now so it’s not as stressful as it could be if things were different.

“It is not serious and if it was we wouldn’t allow him to play sports,” his mom said.

David enjoys being a member of two teams this year: he plays for the Corner Brook Intermediate Storm Grade 8 male basketball team and also a member of the Humber Valley Mountaineers club basketball squad.

It’s his sport of choice. He gave up soccer and baseball to spend more time honing his skills on the basketball court and he’s having a lot of fun sharing the game with a lot of his friends.

“It can be difficult at times, but I you just have to live with it, honestly,” he said.

He’s thankful his condition isn’t worse than it is. He loves the game and wants to enjoy it every chance he gets and wouldn’t want to think about how things would be if he didn’t have the game in his life.

“I have something to do that makes me happy,” he said.

As long as the heart is in good shape he will continue throwing hoops every chance he gets.

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