By UTA Public Relations Student Karina Guevara
While in high school, UT Arlington freshman guard Pedro Castro received some devastating news - that he would never be able to play basketball again.
At the age of 16, the Fort Worth native was told by doctors he had a rare disorder that required open heart surgery and that the likelihood he would ever be able to play again was slim.
Castro had just finished his sophomore year at Brewer High School when he was due for a routine physical. He choked up recalling the day his new doctor checked his heartbeat and heard a murmur.
"He told me that even after the heart surgery he wasn't going to clear me to play basketball," Castro said.
Castro had a vein wrapped around one of the valves in his heart that would require open heart surgery and there was a risk of sudden death. With fear that he would lose all of his hopes and dreams, Castro looked for medical advice from other doctors, none of whom would not clear him to play basketball either.
After numerous doctor visits and tests, Castro received good news from a specialist who would provide treatment that would green light his ability to pursue his passion.
"It was tough because I know I was real close to losing all of my dreams," Castro said. "I'm more appreciative of it and I know that it all could have been taken away. But, I used it as motivation in my rehab to try and get healthy and heal as fast as I could."
Castro has played basketball, along with other sports, since he was 5-years-old. Eventually, his love for basketball put the sport in the forefront of his sports focus.
After the surgery, Castro continued to pursue his dream by going through rehabilitation and working hard. Ultimately, his perseverance led him to be the first person from his high school to be offered a Division I basketball scholarship.
Castro is interested in criminal justice after he pursues a professional basketball career.
"My dad works with the IRS. I don't necessarily want to work for the IRS, but he basically got me interested in the criminal justice field," Castro said. "I remember I went to work with him and I thought all the stuff that they do is cool. They make a good wage and the benefits are good too."
For the young man who wasn't ever supposed to play basketball again, dreams certainly do come true.
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