Danny Strong: High school athlete battles heart failure, gets transplant

As a varsity football and lacrosse player, 17-year-old Simsbury, Connecticut native Danny Deitz was used to pushing the limits of his physical endurance. No doubt the competitive spirit was passed down to him from his father, Terry Deitz, a retired U.S. Navy pilot and two-time Survivor contestant.

But last spring, Danny became concerned about a mysterious decline in his health.  Plays that were once second nature became strenuous, and he started to struggle with breathing during activity. Eventually, Danny felt weak just walking up the stairs of his high school. He was in heart failure — and about to face the toughest summer of his life.

Unbeknownst to Danny and his family, he had a rare genetic form of cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. With his family’s support and care from an expert team of cardiologists, nurses and cardiac surgeons at the Boston Children’s Heart Center, Danny was able to regain strength, return to his community and receive a heart transplant.

Learn more about the Cardiomyopathy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Learn how this journey has inspired Danny and his family to help others with cardiomyopathy and advance heart disease research.