Razorback Gymnast Overcomes Open Heart Surgery

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - Keara Glover has been competing in gymnastics for 19 years. She's now a junior on the Arkansas gymnastics team. Her life was saved because of the tragedy of another Arkansas athlete.

"No, I had no idea," Glover said. "I thought it was just like a regular scan. Like, I didn't think anything was wrong with my heart."

After an undetected heart condition took the life of football player Garrett Uekman,  all athletes coming into the university are required to go through an electrocardiogram and echo scan.

"Kea could have passed away as well," gymnastics coach Mark Cook said. "So I mean, I just think if you're going to perform in a rigorous sport in college, and we have the opportunity and availability to do these kind of tests, it's in our best interest and in the athletes best interest to do 'em."

What she thought was just asthma was actually two aneurysms. Only half of Glover's heart was pumping blood to her body after one had already burst.

"I thought my chest was hurting from my asthma. I've had asthma my whole life. So, it wasn't anything different for me," Glover said.

She under went open heart surgery after her freshman season, where she helped the Gymbacks reach the NCAA championships.

"I wasn't scared about surgery. I wasn't really terrified about that. The only thing I was a little bit scared about was not being able to come back to my full ability," Glover said.

Two years later, and she still isn't quite there. But, Glover is back competing now in two events..

Without this test from the university, Glover might not still be here today.

"I know a lot of other universities do not do this. They never would of found it if they did not have this routine thing that they do here," Glover said.

It's something she says she's thankful for every day.