Caudill Leads Carterville Despite Heart Condition

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By WSIL Sports

CARTERVILLE -- Putting on his pads is the best part of Shane Caudill's day.

"It means a little bit more than to most people," the Lions linebacker said.

Football is a big part of Caudill's life. He started playing in first grade. But his senior season almost didn't happen.

"You have to consider yourself lucky to go through all I've been through and to be here now."

The symptoms started in fourth grade when Shane passed out while exercising. He went to the doctor and learned he was suffering from SVT, a condition that caused his heart to beat very fast, sometimes up to 300 times per minute. He had his first surgery in fifth grade.

"They said (the doctors), we think we got it," Shane said. "I went back to the doctor, it's not gone, which is really unusual."

Over the next four years, Shane had three more surgeries to correct his heart. He was given a clean bill of health after his freshman year. But that all changed last summer.

"I went to the doctor for my check-up and they said it's been really bad and that I was really lucky to be alive at that point."

Caudill had his fifth surgery, forcing him to miss the first three games of the season. He made his return against Pinckneyville but tore his his ACL five weeks later.

"You know it kicked me when I was down," Caudill said. "I had just gotten back and I was feeling great, thought I was on top of the world."

After months of rehab, Caudill is finally in the clear; leading the Lions defense in his last chance to play.

"Shane was told he'd never play varsity football," Lions senior defensive back Dalton Brown said. "So for him to actually have a full senior season, it really means a lot to him."

"He's always been a competitor," Lions head coach Dennis Drust added. "Always been a battler and always been a hard worker, even though he's had limitations with his heart and then the knee injury last year as well."

"I aspire to coach someday and to go and let people know my story," Caudill said. "Let them know that no matter what, to keep playing and getting fighting through it."
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