Charlotte football coach, former UNCC player needs heart transplant

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — A former UNC-Charlotte football player and current Butler High School coach needs a new heart.

Within weeks, Denzel Irvin went from the football field to a hospital bed.

Although healthy and active, he said he went to the hospital a day after experiencing COVID-like symptoms and being told he had heart failure.

“And they were like your heart is failing, your heart is at 10%. And what was I like? Irvin said of his conversation with the doctors.

A natural leader and goalkeeper, he immediately saw the roles reverse.

“If I can be successful and help kids be successful and hope they take it to the next level, that would be great for me. Like I love doing it…and I love giving back,” Irvin explained.

“I would love to go back to it because I mean it was my lifestyle, it was my life, and I was just getting started.”

Dr. Joseph Mishkin, a heart failure transplant physician at Atrium Health, said while it depends on the patient’s situation, the transplant waiting list for a patient like Denzel could be long.

“Patients at the highest level of disease and priority on our waiting list…they can only wait a few days or a few weeks for a new heart,” he said.

“While other patients who aren’t quite at that level of disease but need that new heart, they may be a lower priority and they may be waiting months or years.”

Dr. Mishkin explained that lower priority patients are able to function and survive on certain medications while waiting for a transplant.

As he fights his new battle, Irvin wants to remind you to enjoy life and take anything that goes wrong seriously.

“Take me as an example. Go get checked. Don’t take it lightly,” he said.

There’s a GoFundMe set up here to help pay for his heart transplant.

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