Transplant recipient a star athlete

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:23 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:45 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Curtis Clegg)
Curtis Clegg - cclegg@shawmedia.com DeKalb High School senior Jonathan Bell, a heart transplant recipient, competes in the shot put at the high school on Thursday, April 4, 2013.

DeKALB – Five years ago, Jonathan Bell was 13 years old and recovering from a heart transplant. A sudden onset of cardiomyopathy had put him in the hospital only weeks before.

Today, Bell is a senior at DeKalb High School and is making a name for himself on the varsity football and track fields.

“Here is a guy who, if you look at him, you don’t see anything wrong, but he has had a heart transplant,” said boys varsity track coach Tim Holt.

Bell said that with the consent of his doctors, his coaches have no problems with him practicing and competing on the gridiron or the track field.

“They are all for me doing activities,” Bell said. “They want me to do the normal stuff I was doing before.”

Last month, Bell set the indoor shot put record for the high school’s new fieldhouse. Now that the track and field events have moved outdoors, he has hopes of competing at the state level in the discus event.

“My hope is that he throws it far enough for the state track meet,” Holt said, noting that Bell will have to throw the discus 155 feet to qualify for state.

Bell plans to study forensic science and compete in football and track at a four-year university next year.

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