Living with a heart condition, Hermantown's Gamradt tackles schedule changes |

Living with a heart condition, Hermantown's Gamradt tackles schedule changes

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: August 09, 2020 11:04 PM

A brand new turf field at Hermantown High School is set to be finished by the fall. 

"I'm really excited but I'm also going to miss the mud hole," laughed Darby Gamradt, an incoming Hermantown senior.

The construction of the new field is on schedule, but the football season has been pushed back to March. The Minnesota State High School League postponed football for the safety of players and coaches during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gamradt was at work when he first found out, "I went on break and listened to the news and they said, yep football is gonna be in the spring."

While sad to not kickoff his senior season this fall Gamradt, a running back for Hermantown, said he understands the importance of staying healthy. From a young age he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Tetralogy of Fallot. 

"I have a hole in my pulmonary valve and artery so right now I currently have a pig valve. Ever since I was nine months old to 12 I had an artificial valve, but then they put that one in [when I was] 12 or 14 years old," Gamradt recalled.

He said because of his heart condition he may choose the online route for distanced learning this school year.

In the spring he does hope to return to campus for football then race into a later summer track season. The MSHSL pushed back the start date for track & field to mid-May. 

"I think it will actually be better. I mean it'll be warmer but it's coming off football season, which you're already conditioned, then jumping right into your senior track season. I'll be already conditioned so not much to worry about in the case of getting in shape again," Gamradt said on the late start. He typically runs in the 100, 200, 400 and relays.

To fill his now open fall Gamradt wants to hunt as much as possible, then keep working and lifting, because the same passion for athletics flows through his heart as every Hermantown Hawk.

"I don't feel like it's really any different than any other kid," said Gamradt on playing with his heart condition. "I love playing the sports that I do and just getting outside and being active."


Alicia Tipcke

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