Riley Svymbersky’s heart belongs to track

Kira Kurtz

The adrenaline rush from competing in track takes over sophomore Riley Svymbersky’s body.

She has one goal in mind, winning. A single millisecond can determine it all.

“Track is my outlet,” Svymbersky said.

But in October 2021, the discovery of heart disease changed everything.

What began as a trip to the doctor quickly became a helicopter flight to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. 

She has supraventricular tachycardia, which prevented her from participating in her favorite sport.

“There was no cause, I was most likely born with it,” Svymbersky said.

Svymbersky had plans to undergo surgery. But when she unexpectedly got Covid-19, her surgery was postponed.

One month later, Svymbersky was able to continue with her surgery, but it did not go as planned. Because of an excessive amount of anesthesia in Svymbersky’s body, the surgeons were not able to successfully restore her heart rhythm.

However, this was merely a bump in the road in Svymbersky’s journey. The medicine Svymbersky is currently on allowed her to run again in time for the 2022 track season.

“My biggest concern is Riley will continue to push through, even if she’s feeling off,” said her mother, Rachel. 

Svymbersky had spent countless hours on training, and proved that to her team the first chance she got.

“Riley adds a lot to the team. She was a freshman on varsity… she continues to push through, even when I feel like she shouldn’t,” junior Madeline Snowbarger said.

Even if this decision directly interfered with Svymbersky’s heart, she knew it was the right choice.

“I’m glad I decided to continue with track… I’ve made so many memories,” Svymbersky said.