Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A hockey tournament in Maple Grove is bringing attention to an uncommon disease called POTS, which stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
If someone has POTS, it basically means their body can’t keep a regular heartbeat. It often follows some type of viral infection and can be cured.
Luke Decker took his life in April after living with the debilitating condition for months. The hockey rink is where the 14-year-old Decker found his joy.
“Luke’s passion was hockey. He loved hockey,” said Sally Decker, Luke’s mother.
It only made sense that a fundraiser in his name would take place near the ice.
His family and friends are using the Lucas Decker Memorial Tournament as a way to raise awareness of POTS, the condition they believe took Decker’s life.
“It wasn’t the exact cause, but it was directly related,” Sally Decker said. “He just felt awful all the time.”
POTS causes extreme fatigue, headaches and dizziness. It often affects kids and teens.
Dr. Allen Kuperman, Luke Decker’s pediatrician, said most people don’t know about POTS.
“It’s relatively new,” he said. “It’s only been described in children in the last 12 years. The word isn’t out about it.”
Kuperman said diagnosis can be difficult, because it shares the symptoms of other conditions. He also said POTS treatment is difficult to begin and conclude.
For Luke Decker’s friends, hockey will never be the same. However, many now realize that the hockey tournament in his name will help other young people who suffer from POTS.
“Unfortunately, I feel at the expense of my son, I feel a lot of kids are going to get diagnosed sooner,” Sally Decker said.
Money raised by the tournament will go towards POTS research and awareness, as well as hockey scholarships for kids who can’t afford to play hockey.