Penfield’s Bobby Kane skating through adversity
PENFIELD, N.Y. — “His heart took a turn for the worse unexpectedly. It’s supposed to be a slow, gradual defect and for some reason his heart decided to not do that,” said Bobby Kane’s mother, Terri Kane.
When Bobby Kane was an infant, doctors diagnosed him with Aortic Stenosis. But that didn’t stop him from playing for Perinton Youth Hockey and Rochester Monarchs, now known as the Junior Amerks. And his parents had his back.
“Even if not playing hockey but being safe was the best option, they wanted that for me. But, turned out that we found a great compromise where I could have a surgery that helped me out, and still play hockey,” said Bobby Kane.
“You wouldn’t know it – Bobby just went out there and played like every other kid. When I started coaching he was the captain of our team. He was a leader. He showed up and worked hard and you would never know,” said one of Bobby’s coaches with the Junior Amerks, Mike Napieralski.
Even though Kane looked fine on the ice, his heart was a bigger concern.
“Each year we saw it was getting worse and each year the question was, ‘is it safe for you to be playing hockey,’ and eventually it became ‘no, it’s not safe,’ and that’s when the surgery happened,” said Terri Kane.
So in eighth grade, Bobby had his aortic valve removed and replaced by his pulmonary valve. A human donor’s valve was placed on his pulmonary side. The recovery process took months, but Kane kept on skating forward.
“It really made me love hockey even more, because I knew how much I loved it since I was gone. Getting back was even more tough and being out, because I was so behind all of my teammates, when they were kind of just playing without me,” said Bobby.
“Once he stepped on the ice and was with all the team, you wouldn’t even know he had gone through that before. In the locker room, in the rink, on the ice, he was just another kid, out there having fun,” said Napieralski.
But this May, Bobby had to have another surgery after the donor’s valve began to fail. He returned to the rink again in August, and is now prepping for his senior season with Penfield.
“It’s also very sad, because obviously after this, I might not ever play competitive hockey again,” said Bobby, “it’s definitely very hard to accept, because I’ve played since I was three. But yeah, I definitely think I’m doing a pretty good job of accepting it.”
There will be problems in life, and Bobby’s been through more than most. And he isn’t quitting now.