Varsity Preps

Heart of a Tiger

James Peek came to the dean of discipline’s office at Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit May 3 – not because he was in trouble for misbehaving in class, but because he was having trouble catching his breath.

What Peek didn’t know – and what was revealed, was that Peek’s visit to the dean’s office – just may have saved his life.

“I was having some chest pains, some heart palpitations, I just felt like my heart was racing,” Peek said. “I went and talked to the dean of discipline (Dr. Angelo Pastore) and he took my pulse and it was over 200.”

Pastore, a retired physician, called Peek’s family and recommended he see a cardiologist immediately.

Peek had a condition called an Atrial Septal Defect – a hole in the right atrial chamber of his heart.

“I knew I shouldn’t have had a heart rate that high,” Peek said. “I went and had an echocardiogram of my heart, and I saw a picture of my heart and it looked like there were only three chambers. I knew that didn’t look right.”

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– Article written by & photo credit: Steve Berrey,



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