Heart procedure can’t keep Ricky Margarit off the field

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After a six-overtime defeat at St. Olaf last season, the Tommies are looking to avenge that loss this Saturday at home against the Oles (2-0).

Two players who are excited to play together for the first time in front of the home crowd are brothers Tony Margarit, a fifth-year senior, and sophomore Ricky Margarit.

“We have always played backyard football, backyard basketball and stuff, but we never got to play in a competitive environment with each other,” Tony Margarit said.

Not only are they brothers and teammates, but they both line up at wide receiver.

“He’s been playing for a long time,” Ricky Margarit said. “He can help me with anything, and he’s also one of my best friends.”

They took their first snap together in the season opener against Macalester, but a complication with Ricky Margarit’s heart almost made the continuation of being teammates impossible.

“I didn’t really know what it was during practice,” Ricky Margarit said. “My heart just started pumping really fast and I’d get a little out of breath.”

Ricky Margarit was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), a rhythm disorder that causes his heart to beat faster than normal.

“Adrenaline turns it on, and when it’s turned on my heart starts beating really fast,” he said.

SVT is a genetic disease caused by an extra wire connected to the heart that doctors said could trigger at any moment. Surgery was required to fix the problem.

“I didn’t have to get it right away, but they said they can’t predict when it was going to happen, so it would probably happen during games,” he said.

According to Ricky Margarit, the surgery was called a Synchronized Electrical Cardioversion.

“They got [the wire] to trigger and they found out exactly where it was and they turned it off,” he said. “They tried to trigger it again and they couldn’t get it so that’s a good sign.”

Rick Margarit said he is confident the trigger will stay off.

“I feel like it’s not going to happen and I’m not going to get tired, so I’m ready to go,” Ricky Margarit said.

As for game day, the 6-foot-4-inch sophomore has been cleared to play Saturday at 1 p.m. against St. Olaf.

“He’s going to play quite a bit, we don’t see his reps diminishing much,” coach Glenn Caruso said. “We know that he’s coming off of heart surgery, which is pretty amazing, especially considering we have guys who have been out longer with hamstring or ankle injuries.”

Michael Ewen can be reached at mtewen@stthomas.edu