A few days ago the Tennessean reported on the Tennessee Titans’ rookie DT DaJohn Harris and his heart condition known as patent formamen ovale, which is a hole in his heart from birth that never sealed up. The medical evaluation that discovered the hole in Harris’s heart most likely cost him his chance at being drafted, which is how the Titans ended up signing him as a undrafted free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft.
Apparently everyone is born with a hole in their heart but it usually seals up within the first two years of life. Via the same Tennessean article:
For unexplained reasons, in PFO cases the hole stays open in about 25 percent of the population.
It rarely causes serious issues, though statistics indicate that adults with PFO could be at increased risk of suffering a stroke.
Harris is determined to make the roster. It’ll be tough given how loaded the position is. The Titans have Casey, Klug, Marks, Smith, Martin and a couple other guys already. Perhaps he’ll be able to beat out of of the veterans, specifically Shaun Smith, who failed to live up to expectations last year, but I’d say that’s a big maybe. It’s hard to unseat someone who a teams already invested so much in.
Harris was projected to be a mid-round pick before his condition was discovered and does have familiarity with Jurrell Casey, having played along side him for a few years. He at least has those two things in his favor.
His heart problem hasn’t been the only problem he’s had to overcome in his athletic career so far. He has also had to learn how to deal with both sleep apnea and exercise induced asthma. It has been a long road for Harris and it’s hard not to root for a guy like him. We all love for to see the underdog come out victorious.
Good luck, DaJohn. I’m rooting for ya.
You can also find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart