Talented junior’s open-heart surgery repairs defect

One of the Colac district’s most promising young footballers Indy Parish is recovering at home following open-heart surgery to repair a birth defect, which was discovered following a routine check-up.

A routine trip to the doctor for antibiotics could have saved the life of one of the Colac district’s most promising young footballers.

Winchelsea’s Indy Parish, 15, is a month into his recovery from open-heart surgery after the check-up revealed an atrial septal defect.

On the surface, Indy, the youngest brother of Essendon AFL footballer Darcy, appeared like any other sports-mad teenager.

But the birth defect could have been fatal if it went undetected.

Indy said it had been a whirlwind few months since the initial check-up at Winchelsea’s hospital in June.

“I had the flu and it was affecting my footy, I’d get a big cough and I was struggling to run, so I asked Mum if she could take me in for a check-up, I thought they could give me something to help,” he said.

“So I went in and got a check-up and they found a murmur on my heart.”

The news came as a big shock for the Grovedale College Year 10 student who lived an active life playing football for Grovedale and cricket for Winchelsea.

Indy is one of the region’s most promising young footballers, leading Victoria to a School Sport Australia national championship for the second time this year, and netting All Australian honours.

He was a stand-out for the Geelong Falcons’ under-15 side at last year’s V-Line Cup, and had earned selection in the club’s under-16 team but his recovery will force him to sit out the pre-season.

“I think the fact that he looks healthy it may have been overlooked, but it was one of the new doctors that saw him and she noticed the murmur and got a second opinion,” his mother Ange said.

“It was very lucky, not that we wanted it at the time, it was a bit of a rollercoaster,” she said.

Indy said medical staff were eager to book him in for an echocardiogram in Colac in July, which revealed the ASD.

It was a scary time for the family; dad Glen and Ange, and their three other sons Darcy, Cassidy and Finlay.

“They said it usually takes about a week for the results (from the echocardiogram) to come back, but the lady who did the echo was pretty adamant to rush me through,” Indy said.

See Wednesday’s Colac Herald for more.

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