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Hays High football player awaits new heart in Houston

Just eight weeks ago, Landon Tyner, a 15 yr-old, 225-lb lineman for the Hays High School Rebels football team in Buda, TX was perfectly healthy. Now, he is on a waiting list for a new heart.  Landon has dilated cardiomyopathy– a congenital disease that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle.  This is the condition that affects a number of athletes each year, causing sudden heart failure and death on the fields of play.  In Landon’s case, the condition was caught early enough to prevent his sudden death, but had already progressed to the point of requiring a heart transplant. “He knows he almost didn’t make it,” his mom Athena Tyner said. “His heart was leaking fluid – it was filling up his chest cavity so his lungs were struggling, too.”


Landon spent his fifteenth birthday in Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.  His parents, Athena and Case Tyner, along with their youngest son, Taylor, 13, have temporarily relocated to Houston, staying at the Ronald McDonald House while Landon is hospitalized. Their oldest son, 20-year-old Cody, remains in Buda.  Athena said Landon is a typical teenager – he likes sports and fishing. “He really loves to fish,” she said. He also loves football. Athena said Landon was practicing with the Hays High Rebels earlier in the summer.  “He had a hard time breathing,” she said. “We thought it was asthma.” He then developed more flu-like symptoms, including vomiting. She took him to the hospital and they rushed him to Dell Children’s [in Austin] and then to Texas Children’s in Houston,” Athena said. “He was in congestive heart failure.”  Doctors first thought it was myocarditis, an inflammation of the myocardium, but further tests revealed Landon has dilated cardiomyopathy.  “You hear about it all the time, athletes falling over dead on the field from this heart disease,” Athena said. “That could have been Landon.” 


Although Landon is out of the hospital now, the family isn’t heading back to Buda anytime soon. They are staying at a residence in Conroe until Landon gets a new heart. Landon needs to be very near the hospital when the call comes in that they found an organ ready for transplant. Athena said one of Landon’s biggest worries is not about his heart – it’s about how he’s going to get his Letterman’s jacket if he can’t play football. “I was scared,” Landon said of the ordeal. “I’m disappointed I can’t play football any longer. The whole thing is a real disappointment.” 


Landon’s parents say the medical bills are already starting to pile up. There are accommodations and food for the family, as well as hundreds of thousands in hospital and doctor bills for the procedure.  His parents are also thinking about the cost of tutors until Landon can return to school and the more than 12 different prescriptions that Landon will need monthly to prevent rejection of his new organ. “The reality of the bills hasn’t really hit yet, but it will,” Athena said.  The estimated cost for the hospitalization and procedure exceeds 1 million dollars.  But the families focus is on Landon right now, which is why Athena said she is grateful for her friends, neighbors and community in Buda, who have organized several fundraisers to help the Tyners.


If you would like to help Landon and the Tyner family, you may go to the link provided below to make a donation.  Every little bit helps!

OR, you may purchase a Team Landon T-Shirt at the the link below.  42% of the T-shirt sales go to help the family.




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