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Hegarty cleared for action after serious health scare

Feb 27, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT

Matt Hegarty

After missing much of last year with a mysterious illness that shut him down for the season, the future of Matt Hegarty‘s time at Notre Dame looked to be in question. The one-time blue chip recruit, who had turned down offers from USC, Texas, Oklahoma and Oregon to sign with the Irish, looked to be a future cog on the offensive line.

That future looked incredibly bleak back in November, when, Hegarty suffered stroke like symptoms and surgery revealed two holes in his heart that existed since birth. The experience was especially harrowing, according to Hegarty’s father, who spoke to the Chicago Tribune back in January.

During the team’s walk-through on Nov. 8, Hegarty “suddenly was unable to speak or write,” his father said.

“Matt said that the doctors theorized that ‘his Thursday weightlifting routine may have caused enough turbulence in his heart this time, to cause a clot to pass through the holes in his heart, unfiltered,’” Bryan Hegarty said. “‘The clot then traveled to his brain later that day at practice, causing the stroke.’”

It appears that after a scary 2012, Hegarty’s future with the team is back on track, according to a report from Blue and Gold’s Dan Murphy.

Per Murphy, Hegarty will rejoin the team and is cleared for “full football activities” starting March 15, with doctors monitoring his heart’s progress throughout.

That’s excellent news for an Irish offensive line that’s had its fair share of bad luck since Brian Kelly took over the team. With Tate Nichols likely hearing not-so-great medical news that could put him on a medical hardship scholarship, Jordan Prestwood transferred to UCF, and Brad Carrico already suffering a career-ending injury, the offensive line recruiting class of 2011 looked like it could have been down to just Conor Hanratty, making this year’s recruiting class up front so important.

If Hegarty is healthy, he looks to be one of the truly intriguing players to watch this spring. While many expected him to come in and compete at tackle, his move to the inside gives the Irish some size and an impressive athlete at the center position, where the Irish have started Braxston Cave for three straight seasons.

  1. bostonjan - Feb 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Thank God. Prayers answered.

    As a parent of a 22 old recovering from a traumatic brain injury, I can feel for his parents (and the lad himself). Great news for them all; and terrific news for the Irish team.

    It feels like the good luck of the Irish from last season continues. In previous years it seemed like the only “luck” we could get was bad luck.

    Of course medical expertise, technology, and rapid response may have played a role as well…….

    • joeschu - Feb 27, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Prayers to your and yours for a full recovery bostonjan.

    • mtflsmitty - Feb 27, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      Jan, I have a 25 yo niece on the cape recovering from a traumatic brain injury as well. She was thrown from a car while not wearing her seatbelt. Although she continues to recover and make small strides each day, her life and those of her parents will never be the same. They pray for understanding of God’s will for them, and appreciate the small gifts that come their way.

      I don’t really know what it’s like to see one’s child suffer through surgeries, rehab, and therapy. But I can only imagine the aching in one’s heart must be very deep. My brother does say they have had some real miracles come their way since the accident. I hope you find yours as well. My prayers go out to you, your son and the rest of your family.

      • nudeman - Feb 27, 2013 at 7:54 PM

        smitty and jan
        My prayers for both of you and your families. I can’t imagine the pain.

        Re: Hegarty, if there is a doctor in the house, how do holes in the heart get fixed? It sounds like he’s 100% good to go.

  2. stedward - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Always good to see a guy returning and able to compete.

    Is it time for the Blue and Gold game yet? I want to see these guys in action.

  3. 1historian - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Good to hear that the kid’s health is improving. We need to recruit 5 more OLs in next years class.

  4. fnc111 - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Spring game’s are a joke. Meaningless.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Apostrophes are a joke too, right?

      • smartestjones - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        I think you meant to write “apostrophes’s”.

      • 1historian - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        consider the source of the wisdom to which you replied so wittily.

        My best to Tim

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      FNC,

      Why are you such a clown?

      *Last year you bitched about a “purple faced” coach never beating Michigan or USC, and we do that, but you’re still not satisfied.

      *Last year you complained that Te’o would never have “a complete resume” because he didn’t produce any turnovers. This year he did and you still spew hate.

      *Last year you screamed about how Weis could beat Michigan but Kelly couldn’t when Weis actually losing record against Mich.

      *Last year you proudly proclaimed that “I don’t care about anything but winning” and ND puts up a 12-0 record, but you still spew this hatred for ND

      How can you even call yourself a fan?

      The only two things you seem to excel at are being wrong and being grumpy.

      • papadec - Feb 27, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        idrather – throw fnc & the other trolls some leftover Valentine candy – maybe that will sweeten their disposition, and maybe shut them up for a bit.

      • 1historian - Mar 1, 2013 at 6:49 AM

        If he is indeed “grumpy” then it follows that he is one of the 7 dwarfs.

        Who knew?

  5. kiopta1 - Feb 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Great to hear even if he isn’t football ready that is great news.

  6. seanb20124 - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Really bad loss was the young man that died on HS Spring Break couple years back

    • nudeman - Feb 27, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Let’s give the young man a name: Matt James
      Just terrible.
      He was highly rated and lost his life in a moment of inattention and heavy partying
      There but for the grace of God goes me and probably a few of you.

      • mtflsmitty - Feb 28, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        Amen.

        …Amen

      • 1historian - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        I remember that. That was terrible.

  7. mtmk0586 - Feb 27, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Good to hear the kid is healthy. Watch him carefully guys.

  8. yaketyyacc - Feb 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    the spring game is a positive. it gives new young players the first time running out of the tunnel, added pratice time, feelng for the first time what it means to represent Notre Dame, and for the coaches to evaluate how the young men repsond in semi game conditions.
    for us, the alums and fans, it starts the adrenaline flowing.
    might be a good idea, like the pros, to have the game against a school not on our schedule.

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