Playing high school basketball in the Inter-Valley Conference is no easy task, but it has become even more difficult for Newcomerstown High sophomore Alex Porcher, who suffers from a heart condition.
Porcher was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia, better known as SVT and it is believed he has had it since birth.
SVT is a rapid heartbeat that develops when the normal electrical impulses of the heart are disrupted. It affects. on average, 200,000 United States citizens per year and can increase your heart rate up to 100-300 beats per minute while the average heart beat is only 60-100 beats per minute.
Porcher, a starting guard for the Trojans’ varsity basketball team, has been dealing with the symptoms of SVT since middle school.
"It really started my eighth grade year," said Porcher. "I was born with it, but it started to affect me in eight grade and I had to sit out half of the basketball season."
Porcher is closely monitored by his father - NHS assistant coach Mike Porcher - who is close by to assist Alex if any of his symptoms were to occur during the game.
"He can tell by the symptoms if it is about to happen," offered Coach Porcher. "If his heartbeat does increase, he has to come out of the game and wait until it slows down, but if it doesn’t slow down in 30-40 minutes, then we have to go to the hospital.
"He actually had an ablation (a surgical removal of body tissue) done in eighth grade," he continued. "and that took care of it, but now he is wired through his natural line for it to happen. That is why it only happens when he is playing a sport."
Despite the risks, Porcher continues to play for the Trojans.
"I just love the game," offered Porcher. "It is just really fun to play and I enjoy going out there with my teammates."
Newcomestown head coach Tim Davis praised Porcher for his ability on the court as well as his character off the court.
"Alex is just a great kid," said Coach Davis. "He works so hard. He can handle the ball and he can shoot and is just an all-around great player. He is the one you have to kick out of the gym every night. He is definitely a gym rat.
"Thankfully, they are going to get it taken care of here soon," Davis continued. "He loves the game and has put so much time and effort into it that he can’t give it up."
Porcher will have another ablation done later this month to rectify the issue and the sophomore standout will look to lead the Trojans’ basketball team his junior and senior year.
Through the first 20 games this season, Porcher is averaging seven points per game. In games against Coshocton and Heritage Christian, Porcher tallied a season-best 13 points.