About Michael Monteleone

About Michael Monteleone


Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young Athletes
The sudden death of a child is a catastrophe that has devastating social and emotional impacts on both families and the community. Young athletes risk sudden cardiac death due to previously undiagnosed congenital heart disease; acquired conditions such as myocarditis; or accidents such as Commotio Cordis.

Congenital (from birth) heart disease often goes undiagnosed in children because it rarely produces symptoms. Often, the first sign of these diseases is the sudden collapse during athletic activity. Exercise and athletic activity significantly increase the risk for sudden cardiac death in predisposed individuals.

Screening for conditions that place an athlete at risk starts with a careful medical history, with an emphasis on family members with known congenital heart disease or early or unexpected death; personal history of passing out (syncope), chest pain, or shortness of breath; and salient issues regarding ethnic background. For example, Michael Monteleone was diagnosed after his death with Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, a disease known to have a high prevalence in individuals from Northern Italy (with an autosomal dominant genetic transmission, meaning 50% chance of passing it on). The physical exam should include an emphasis on equality of pulses in arms and legs; irregular heart rhythm; cardiac murmurs; and physical stigmata of congenital disease such as Marfan's. The American College of Cardiology recently updated its guidelines for Athletic Participation of persons with congenital heart disease and for screening programs. They continue to suggest proceeding with cardiac testing such as EKG and echocardiogram only based on concerns raised by the history and physical exam; they feel that the cost as well as the high incidence of false positive findings in the very heterogeneous US population would not make more routine use of diagnostic testing an effective strategy.

The most common congenital cardiac conditions predisposing young athletes to sudden cardiac death include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy; Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (also known as RV Dysplasia or ARVD); Long QT Syndrome; Marfan's Disease; and Congenital Coronary Anomalies.

Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart, usually caused by a viral infection) is the most common acquired cardiac condition that may lead to sudden death in athletes.

Commotio Cordis (cardiac concussion) is a sudden disruption in the heart's electrical system caused by a blunt trauma. It is most commonly associated with baseball, softball, hockey, and lacrosse.

The use of performance enhancing drugs, especially stimulants of all types, also significantly increases the risk of sudden death.

Prompt defibrillation is the only realistic hope for survival from cardiac arrest. The chances of successful resuscitation decrease about 10% for every minute that goes by without defibrillation. With on-site AEDs, survival can be increased from 5% to as high as 50%. That is why the American Heart Association gives on-site AEDs a prominent role in the Emergency Response Plan for Schools.

Michael J. Monteleone Eulogy

Michael's Eulogy
Elisabeth Ridder
5-12-05
On December 22, 1990 a beautiful baby boy became part of our family. He came to his home on Brookside Drive for the very first time on Christmas Eve; the best Christmas gift our family could have ever asked for. We placed him under the Christmas tree in his little red and green stocking cap and couldn't get over how beautiful he was. Little did we know that he'd grow to be even more beautiful; inside and out.

Michael Jake Monteleone was a gem. His parents and sister knew it, his grandparents knew it, and his aunts, uncles, and cousins knew it. But, over the past few days I have come to learn that the town of Lincoln, especially those involved in baseball, knew it as well. Michael's kindness, warm heart, and infectious smile affected all of us. As I look out at all of you gathered here today, I feel so proud to be his cousin.

There were a lot of things that I loved about Michael, but the one thing that I loved the most was how, at family gatherings, he wouldn't hesitate to snuggle up to me and tell me that he loved me. Many people have a difficult time expressing their love to others, but if Michael loved you, you knew it. If he didn't say it in words, he said it with his sparkling eyes or a warm hug… very unique for a 14 year old boy. In my eyes he was perfect.

A folder containing letters from some of his friends was delivered to Michael's house on Tuesday. Some of the letters were addressed to Michael, and others were addressed to his parents. Each letter was beautifully written, and it warmed our hearts to know just how Michael's friends felt about him. These letters also let us know that he was just as wonderful outside of his home as he was inside. To quote some of his friends:

"I wish it were me instead of you because you brought more."

"He was kind and had a smile on his face all the time."

"I just have to tell you how much respect I had for your son."

"He always found a way to make anyone laugh and feel better."

"You did a wonderful job raising Mike."

"Monte, you built yourself a reputation that everyone loved and respected."

"I've never heard you swear or say a bad word."

"He will be our 'Angel in the Outfield'."

And, one of my favorites, written by Cory Martone who was playing in the woods with Mike last week, "I got poison ivy from your house last week, but it was well worth it."

We always knew that Michael was an angel, and now he has his official angel's wings. I am confident that he is at peace in heaven hitting home runs with his Grandma Irene who shared Mike's passion for baseball. To his teammates, yes, he will be your "Angel in the Outfield". Please be sure to swing those bats extra hard for Michael this year, as he looks down on you from the most beautiful baseball diamond that he's ever played on.

Mikey, you have given so much to so many people. In your short 14 years on this Earth you have made an impact that a lot of people don't make in a lifetime. Thank you for leaving us with so many wonderful memories. Thank you for your beautiful smile and your soft-spoken, kind words. Thank you for your strong hugs. Thank you for telling us that you loved us. Thank you for saying "thank you" and for appreciating all you had. Thank you Michael, for being you.

I could stand here and speak for hours to Michael, or to you, his friends and family, about what a wonderful boy Michael was and how much we're going to miss him, but I will close with these words spoken by Coach Randy:
"Congratulations Patty and Anthony. You have raised an exceptional little boy."

Michael J. Monteleone Homily

YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE NO WORDS THAT ANY OF US CAN SAY THAT WILL SOOTHE THE PAIN IN YOUR HEARTS. YOU KNOW TOO THAT IF ANY OF US COULD FIND SUCH A WORD ALL OF US WOULD WANT TO COMFORT YOU WITH IT. ALL OF US WANT TO TAKE SOME PART OF YOUR PAIN, AND BY SHARING IT MAKE THE BURDEN OF YOUR GRIEF LIGHTER. GOD KNOWS, I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES AND PRAYING HARD TO FIND SOMETHING TO SAY THAT MIGHT POSSIBLY COMFORT YOU.

THE ONLY THING I CAN OFFER IS NOT A WORD, NOT AN EXPLANATION, NOT A REASON, BUT AN IMAGE, A PICTURE. IT IS THE IMAGE OF MARY STANDING BEANEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS. THAT IS THE IMAGE WHICH THE GOSPEL DESCRIBES FOR US THIS MORNING. IN THE MOMENTS BEFORE HE DIED JESUS COMMITED HIS MOTHER INTO THE CARE OF HIS BELOVED DISCIPLE, ST. JOHN AND SAID TO HIM: "BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER." TODAY, TONY AND PATTY AND JENNA, YOU ARE MARY AND WE ARE ST. JOHN. TOGETHER WE STAND ON CALVARY WITH MARY THIS MORNING, KNOWING THAT ONLY SHE UNDERSTANDS. ONLY MARY, OUR MOTHER, HAS SUFFERED WHAT YOU ARE SUFFERING, THE LOSS OF HER SON. MARY BEHOLDS US WITH HER TENDER EYES OF PITY. WE LOOK INTO HER EYES, EYES WHICH HAVE BEEN FILLED WITH TEARS AND IMMENSE SUFFERING, EYES WHICH ARE DEEP OCEANS OF LOVE AND COMPASSION, WE LOOK INTO HER EYES AND WE BEHOLD OUR MOTHER.

WITH A MOTHER'S LOVE MARY ENFOLDS US INTO HER ARMS AS HER OWN CHILD. SHE RECIEVES US TENDERLY AND THE WARMTH OF HER BODY BECOMES THAT PLACE OF REFUGE WHICH WE SO DESPERATELY NEED. SHE CAN DO THIS FOR US BECAUSE SHE HAS STOOD WHERE YOU NOW STAND.

MARY COMFORTS US IN HER MERCIFUL ARMS AND REPEATS TO US THAT MICHAEL IS SAFE. HE IS IN A GOOD PLACE. YOU SON IS WITH HER SON. YOUR SON NOW LIVES FOREVER. WITH MARY, HE IS WATCHING OUT FOR US; ONE IN LOVE FOR US; ONE IN PRAYER FOR US. HE IS WATCHING OUT FOR ALL OF YOU-TONY, PATTY & JENNA; FOR YOU HIS FRIENDS AND TEAMMATES. HIS IS ONE WITH JESUS CHRIST, WHO DIED AND ROSE, AND LIVES FOREVER.

MICHAEL LOVED BASEBALL AND WAS AN OUTSTANDING PLAYER/MICHAEL WAS ALSO A CATHOLIC -HE WAS A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST. IN BOTH FOLLOWERS PUT THEIR FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE IN UNCONTROLLABLE FORCES IN SEARCH OF FULFILLMENT AND INNER JOY. SOMETIMES THE FAITHFUL GET THE RESULTS THEY WANT, IN THE DARKEST TIMES SOME LOSE HOPE ALTOGETHER WHILE OTHERS RENEW THE VIGORS OF THEIR FAITH; IN GOOD TIMES IT SEEMS EVERYONE IS A BELIEVER.

BASEBALL FANS AND CATHOLICS WORSHIP IN CHURCHES AND CATHEDRALS -BALLPARKS AND STADIUMS. BOTH HAVE RULES: THREE STRIKES, FOUR BALLS, and THREE OUTS TO AN INNING / THE TEN COMMANDMENTS/THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH. BOTH CANONIZE HEROES OF THE PAST AND THERE ARE SAINTS IN THE HALL OF FAME IN COOPESTOWN AND COUNTLESS MORE SAINTS IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. THE CHURCH HAS HOLY CARDS; BASEBALL HAS ITS TRADING CARDS TOO. BASEBALL DOES NOT USE A CLOCK-THERE ARE NO TWO MINUTE WARNINGS, JUST NINE INNGS (OR EXTRA). FOR TIME IS IRRELAVANT AND UNIMPORTANT. IN BOTH BASEBALL AND IN OUR CATHOLIC FAITH, IT IS THE QUALITY OF PLAY THAT COUNTS, NOT THE QUANTITY OF TIME.

BOTH BASEBALL AND THE CATHOLIC FAITH CAN BE PLAYED ANYWHERE, WITH THE MOST BASIC EQUIPMENT. BASEBALL PERSEVERES BECAUSE IT BURNS IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LOVE IT. THEY KEEP IT ALIVE IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING, EVEN CHRONIC DEFEAT. OUR CATHOLIC FAITH DOES NOT RELY ON PHYSICAL PLACES TO SURVIVE, FOR OUR LIFE IN CHRIST IS OF THE SPIRIT AND NOT OF THE EARTH.

WE DON'T REALLY NEED MASSIVE CATHEDRALS; STAINED GLASS WINDOWS, CANDLES OR STATUES. THEY ENRICH OUR FAITH BUT THEY ARE NOT CENTRAL TO IT. ALL WE REALLY NEED IS THE WORD OF GOD, CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD, AND A LOVING COMMUNITY WHERE THAT WORD AND EUCHARIST TRULY LIVE. MICHAEL FOUND THAT LOVING COMMUNITY AT ST. AMBROSE WHERE HE WAS BAPTIZED, RECEIVED HIS FIRST COMMUNION, WENT TO MASS, AND WOULD HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED IN HIS CATHOLIC FAITH NEXT YEAR.

AS LONG AS THERE ARE FIELDS AND KIDS, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE BASEBALL. AS LONG AS THERE ARE PEOPLE, HEARTS AND SOULS, COMPASSION AND CONCERN, BELIEF AND FAITH, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THE CHURCH. IN BOTH, THE TRUE SPIRITUALITY LIES DEEP BENEATH THE SURFACE OF RITUAL. WE STEP UP TO THE PLATE, GIVE OUR BEST EFFORT, KEEP THE RULES, AND MAKE OUR WAY ROUND THE BASES UNTIL WE CROSS HOME. FOR THE GOAL OF BASEBALL IS TO CROSS HOME. THE GOAL OF OUR LIVES AS CATHOLICS IS THE SAME.TO CROSS HOME -HOME TO GOD.

MICHAEL HAS CROSSED HOME: CROSSED HOME TO HEAVEN. MAY HE REST THERE IN ETERNAL PEACE AND HAPPINESS.

All-league Banquet

June 20, 2005

The 2005 Lincoln High School baseball season will be long remembered for the loss of 14-year-old freshman, Michael Monteleone. Tonight the Rhode Island Baseball Coaches Association recognizes this loss and pays tribute to Michael and his family with an honorary All -Division distinction. On May 9th, Michael Monteleone left us for a better place while ding the one of the things he enjoyed most, playing baseball. It was as though time stood still in the town of Lincoln. The community, school system and baseball program was reeling as the unthinkable news passed quickly. The question of ho this could happen to such a bright, athletic, kind and respected young man passed over everyone's lips. There was no clear answer other than an "enlarged heart". My answer to the question was and remains, "It's God's will". Having faith helps sooth the pain as we grieve and provides hope for reuniting with lost loved ones sometime in the future.

Michael was known as an outstanding baseball player with great promise but received more recognition from his peers, teachers and coaches for the type of person he was. Michael was a kind person. He was popular because he treated everyone with respect. While visiting Michael's classmates the day after his death, I heard stories of how polite, caring and friendly he was to everyone that he had contact with. He excelled in the classroom as an honor student and would do his best to meet his personal high expectations. Michael would always be the one to voluntarily help carry the equipment at the end of a practice or game. As a coach, that tells you something about his character. His friends spoke of his dry humor and practical jokes he would play on them. His striking good looks. Bright smile and charm could easily have given him the title of "the All-American boy". He will be greatly missed on the baseball diamond, in the halls of the high school, in the community and at home. Although Michael's life has been short, his memory will live on forever. I feel very fortunate to have had my path cross his and to have had the opportunity to be called his coach.

It is an honor and privilege to present this honorary All-Division Player Award to Michael Monteleone's mother Patty, his father Anthony and sister Jenna.