Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another Teen Dies of Commotio Cordis


        On April the eleventh, Taylor Dorman was in school, and it was his sixteenth birthday.  He attended a gymn class in which the class was practicing line drives.  A few moments later, Taylor was accidentally hit in the chest with a softball.  He seemed fine afterward even joking about it.  Twenty minutes later, this was not the case.  Friends asked him if he were alright, and there was no response.  A medical transport helicopter was dispatched to the Southern California Ramona High School.
      CPR was continued, and Taylor is said to have survived long enough to have been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit. However he died not long after.
      Taylor is said to have been a loyal friend. He is remembered as a jovial and fun classmate. He had a lot of friends who will miss him badly.  The medical examiner's office indicates that Taylor experienced a heart rhythm disturbance prior to his death.    Friends say they believe that Taylor was known to have a history of a heart murmur.

His school says he will always be remembered as a very happy person.

       Children, teens and adults who collapse immediately or later and die of a heart rhythm disturbance are said to have had something called commotio cordis.   In each heartbeat, we have a vulnerable period called our "t" wave in which anything from a tap on the chest, a fall, or even vomiting can send the heart into a non productive rhythm.  This non-productive rhythm can eventually result in a cardiac arrest, and when it's caused by such a phenomenon, can be very resistant to resuscitation.
       I send my deepest condolences today to the family, and friends, and particularly the mother of Taylor Dorman.  I can relate to your shock, and your emptiness.
        Family and friends had planned to celebrate his sixteenth birthday this weekend, and are devastated that they will be attending his funeral instead.
       As the mother of a child who died who at 12 1/2, died of a cardiac arrest secondary sudden heart rhythm disturbance, without being tapped in the chest, and with no prior cardiac history whatsoever, I can tell you that much more of this happens than is realized.  I'm tired of being told how rare a sudden death in a child or teen from arrhythmia is.   Then why have I met so many ?      It's time to have AEDs at every practice, and it's time to screen all teens with an EKG before 13.   This will not catch every case, and an AED on site will not save every young man or young woman who experiences a sudden cardiac arrest, but we will do better than is being done in the US right now.   If I can spare even one family, the sudden and unexpected loss of a child, then this certainly seems a worthy task.

Taylor Dorman, in happy times.

A memorial fund has been established for Taylor Dorman and his family. Those who wish to donate can do so at the Bank of Southern California Ramona branch located at 1315 Main Street by mentioning Taylor's mother, Sue Kohler.

Our older posts on commotio cordis can be found at:

One of the boys mentioned in the post below, Matthew Hammerdorfer, also passed due to commotio cordis, although he was playing rugby.


  1. You are so right. If it saves even one life and spare's their family the never ending pain of losing a child the AED should be a must have. This has caused me think I need to find out if our school has them. My daughter at a very young age experienced shortness of breath and chest pain. She had two EKG's over a period of time. I was told she had a heart mummer. However I was told she would grow out of it. At a dentist checkup I answered a questionnaire. The question asking ever e had a heart mummer I answered yes. They refused treatment until a paper stating the type of mummer could be gotten. She was in a car crash 2011 suffering chest pain. However in all this I was left to believe she'd grow out of it. I now think we need more information. I look at this young boys smile and your sons smile and remember my son's smile. It brings tears to my eyes. There just way to young & precious to be gone. Blessings! Lara

    1. Lara,
      Cardiologists say that 50% of children have slight heart murmurs and that these are frequently outgrown. Some of these can only be detected while listening with a stethoscope, when the child has a fever. However, only a cardiologist can make such a determination.
      Daniel was detected to have had a heart rhythm disturbance during my labor with him. As soon as he was born, and the cord was clamped, it disappeared. I asked for a pediatric cardiologist, but the pediatricians, and obstetrician said that if the heart rhythm disturbance disappears when the umbilical cord is clamped, that there was no need. This was also confirmed by other friends who were cardiologists at the time, and this was indeed the conventional thinking of the time. However, it was the only "hint" we ever received that something wasn't quite right. He never had an EKG or a cardiology visit as a child. Of course, I regret that every day.
      Having your daughter checked by a cardiologist should not be difficult. They can get an EKG, and an echocardiogram, which is a simple ultrasound test of the heart. The information from this can either help your heart rest easily, or tell the cardiologist if any other type of monitoring is necessary. Love and blessings to you. My heart goes out to Taylor Dorman's parents.


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