Former DeSoto basketball star Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery after leading DeSoto to back-to-back Class 6A state championships.
Herron, now a freshman at Kentucky, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that she had the surgery Aug. 24 to correct a congenital heart defect called anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery. That is the second leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes in the United States, according to Texas Children’s Hospital.
Hi all, as some of you may not know I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that is seen in less than 1% of the population called Anomalous Aortic Origin of a Right Coronary Artery (AAORCA). On August 24th I underwent open heart surgery to correct this disorder. pic.twitter.com/th8AmkogDr— Tionna Herron (@TREEvibess) September 20, 2022
The 6-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior athletic trainer Courtney Jones said in a press release that Herron underwent surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto.
Herron is expected to return to campus in early October, where she will continue her rehabilitation until she receives the all-clear to return to normal activity.
“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that ‘game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy said in the release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”
Herron was a second-team all-area selection last season and averaged 10 points, 4.5 rebounds and two blocks and was named the tri-MVP of District 11-6A. DeSoto finished 35-2 after beating South Grand Prairie 40-23 in the state championship game and was ranked No. 2 in the final MaxPreps national rankings.
Herron was an all-state selection as a junior and averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks to help DeSoto win the first girls basketball state title in school history.
Herron was a four-star recruit and was ranked by ESPN’s HoopGurlz as the 11th-best post player and 69th-best overall player in the class of 2022. Kentucky won last year’s SEC tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.