Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

August 21, 2012

OU’s Kasitati back after heart surgery

NORMAN — Oklahoma offensive lineman Nila Kasitati knew something when woke up that July morning. He was supposed to go through his usual workout, but he had no energy at all.

His ego told him not to saying anything. Growing up in household with nine brothers had taught him to never show weakness. But he was out of breath and could hardly keep his head up.

“Every little thing I did. Like just standing up, it felt like I’d ran a mile,” Kasitati said.

He went to the Sooners’ trainers who quickly got him to a doctor. Good thing they did. Kasitati was experiencing heart arrhythmias. It’s a condition that causes the electrical impulses in the heart that coordinate the heartbeat to malfunction. The heart may be too fast, too slowly or erratically. The condition can be fatal if untreated.

What was scary was the July episode wasn’t the first time Kasitati had experienced the symptoms. Looking back on it, he’d been experiencing symptoms since junior high.

The treatment for the sophomore from Euless, Texas, was a simple surgery. Only problem was the problem was the procedure needed to be done a week before the Sooners started preseason practice and it was going to take several weeks to heal.

The surgery was a success and Kasitati returned to practice last week. Stamina hasn’t been an issue.

“His was a little bit of a coming back thing because he’d been off for about four or five weeks after surgery. He looks very good,” tackles and tight end coach Bruce Kittle said.

Kasitati agrees.

“I’m fine,” he said following Monday’s practice. “The surgery was a success so I’m good right now. There’s nothing holding me back from being better or getting a chance to play.”

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