The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 12, 2013

Harold Raker's high school football column: Batts wants to be No. 1 again

Heart issue sidelines star tailback

When a regional TV station showed a highlight from Selinsgrove's opening-night win over visiting Mifflinburg, the sportscaster raved about the long touchdown run by Juvon Batts.

It's not that Batts didn't want his teammate, Zach Adams, to score that touchdown. But he sure wishes that it was he who was wearing No. 1 for the Seals.

After taking the Valley by storm near mid-season last year as a freshman running back, Batts was among the top returning backs and the one coaches feared the most.

Instead of burning defenses with his speed and Gumby-like moves, Batts is sidelined with a heart-related condition which also threatens his basketball season.

Meanwhile, his teammates have dedicated the season to the sophomore with a different player taking a turn wearing Batts' No. 1 jersey each game. The first week it was Adams, who otherwise wears No. 25.

"Zach Adams did a real good job," Michelle Batts, Juvon's mother, said this week. "They dedicated the season to him, to keep his spirit up, which is beautiful."

Someone who had seen the TV replay and heard her son's name told Michelle about her son's nice run. "I was at work, so I was shocked," she said with a laugh. "I didn't tell her any different."

She said that the delay to the start of last season for Juvon was the result of his being found to have a heart murmur. He was eventually cleared to play.

But, in this year's preseason physical examination for football, doctors discovered a problem and sent him for an EKG and, as a result of that, a CAT scan. The latter showed an abnormality which threatens his athletic future.

Michelle explained that the two arteries on the left side of his heart are so close together that there is no circulation.

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