In each issue of HemAware, we spotlight people in the bleeding disorders community. Here, we talk to Logan Eastburn-Hidalgo, 12, from Yardley, Pennsylvania. He was part of a team that broke the Pennsylvania YMCA State Swimming Championship record for freestyle relay in March 2014. He has moderate hemophilia A and type 1 von Willebrand disease.
When did you first develop an interest in swimming?
I have been in the pool at a local YMCA since I was 6 months old. Later on, my hematologist told me that swimming was the best sport for me because it would put less stress on my joints than those that involve running. This was especially important because I have had several bleeds in my ankles and knees. I took swimming classes until I turned 8 years old, when I joined a team, and I started competing when I was 10.
How often do you train, and what’s involved?
I practice three or four times a week for about two hours per day. We usually swim medium-distance sets [five 100-yard sets of individual medley, or freestyle, or freestyle and backstroke]. For warmup, we usually swim a couple of 400- or 500-yard freestyle sets, or a five-minute loose kick with a board. Each practice totals approximately 3,000 yards.
How do you think swimming has affected your bleeding disorder?
Swimming has made my hemophilia easier to manage because it strengthens my muscles and keeps me thin, which reduces the amount of pressure on my joints. Since I started swimming competitively, I have not had any major joint bleeds.
Do others on your team know you have a bleeding disorder?
None of the others on my team know, just because the subject has never come up. My coaches are aware of it, because my parents told them, but I don’t think they told anyone else. When we have practices on dry land, such as running and stretching exercises, I usually take it easy, and my coaches are fine with that.
How did you feel when your team broke the YMCA state record?
When I realized that my team had broken the Pennsylvania YMCA state record for the 200 freestyle relay, I felt that I had made a huge accomplishment. I was glad that my coaches had trained me and the rest of the Tri-Hampton YMCA 11–12 boys relay team so efficiently. I also felt that I could have pushed myself a little bit harder in order to bring our time even lower. We’ll try again in the long course season that begins in April and runs through August.
Some parents are worried about their kids with bleeding disorders participating in sports because of bleeds. What would you say to a kid who wants to swim like you do?
I can understand why some parents might be worried about sports, because I had an ankle bleed from running during a T-ball game when I was 5, and that was the last time I ever played. I’ve never had any joint bleeds as a result of swimming, possibly because I do my prophylaxis on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays before I train. Swimming also helps me maintain my weight, and I know that this will place a lot less strain on my joints. For a kid with hemophilia who wants to swim, I would say, “Get in the pool!”
Do you know an interesting individual we should profile in a future issue of HemAware? E-mail: [email protected].