RUSHVILLE — Most people have experienced the feeling of being “winded” or short of breath for one reason or another. That experience on the basketball court led RCHS junior Kyle Stanley to seek help and eventually surgery to help get more oxygen into his lungs.
Kyle was born with a condition called Pectus Excavatum.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, Pectus excavatum is a condition in which a person’s breastbone is sunken into his or her chest. While the sunken breastbone is often noticeable shortly after birth, the severity of pectus excavatum typically worsens during the adolescent growth spurt.
Also called funnel chest, pectus excavatum is more common in boys than in girls. Severe cases of pectus excavatum can eventually interfere with the function of the heart and lungs.
Kyle first started noticing an issue with his breathing while playing middle school basketball.
“It never really seemed to bother me when I ran. My eighth grade year when I played basketball was when I significantly saw problems. The main symptom was shortness of breath and heavy breathing,” Kyle said.
Kyle was taken to see Dr. Landman at Riley Hospital for Children and eventually had surgery prior to his freshman year to correct the issue with his chest.
On the move
After recovery from the surgery, Kyle noticed a significant difference in his ability to breathe during activities. The next step was to get back to the cross country competition.
“It felt really good to get back out there and run again, and I saw a significant change in my breathing pattern. I was also able to take deeper breaths which helped out my running,” Kyle said.
Kyle has made significant improvements on the course throughout the past three seasons.
“Over the past three years, Kyle has really developed into an excellent runner. He is a naturally quiet guy and mostly cedes the vocal leadership to other teammates. But during workouts and in races, Kyle is the leader of our team. He sets an example of hard work and toughness that everyone on the team recognizes and follows. He leads his team without saying a word. He works hard every day and has shown consistent improvement throughout his career,” RCHS cross country coach Jim Marlatt said.
“So far this season he has won the Union City Invitational, the New Castle Invitational, and the South Dearborn Invitational. His other finishes have been second, second, third, and sixth. He is in the middle of an outstanding season made even more impressive by the medical procedure to fix a chest deformity that he overcame right before his freshman year. He is an incredible young man and a great representative of RCHS and the Rushville community,” Marlatt added.
Kyle started running in middle school and really noticed a change his freshman year. He is now the top runner on the RCHS team.
“From the start of my career, I realized that I was excelling the more I practiced to where I was the number one runner on our team,” Kyle said.
Cross country is a demanding sport that takes a lot of dedication and hard work, but there is a comradery among members on a team.
“The thing I like most about cross country is the team. It’s like a big family that is always there If you need them,” Kyle said.
Though tough, Kyle said he would encourage young people to give cross country a try.
“I would tell younger athletes to definitely give it a try and train hard to be the best you can be,” Kyle added. “I would tell them to never give up on your dreams, and the best views come after the hardest climb.”
Kyle and the rest of the RCHS harriers are preparing for the state tournament that begins with the sectional Oct. 10 at Connersville.
“My personal goal is to make it to semistate, preferably as a team, and to win the sectional,” Kyle said.