Wilson talks heart health, adoption, and pickleball future

Wilson talks heart health, adoption, and pickleball future

DALLAS, TX - The last 12 months have certainly been good for Thomas Wilson pickleball-wise.

He made impressive strides in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, and earned a combined eight PPA medals throughout the year.

Most recently, he took second place at the PPA Finals playing alongside Riley Newman.

As great as his performance has been on the court, though, it’s been a turbulent year away from it because the San Antonio native has dealt with some serious health scares.

In August 2022, Wilson began experiencing isolated episodes of tachycardia while competing at tournaments. The condition caused his heart rate to jump to dangerous levels, and forced him to pull out of several matches.

The issue became much more serious this past June at the Texas Open when similar medical issues forced him to retire from his first-round singles match against Ryan Sherry.

“You just feel like you’re about to drop,” Wilson recalled of the experience. “You’re not in pain necessarily, but you’re out of breath and you just know that your body can’t sustain it.”

What the 33-year-old’s body couldn’t sustain in the Lone Star State was a heart rate that measured close to 300 beats per minute for over 10 minutes.

Wilson vividly remembers showing those readings to his cardiologist: “He was like, ‘I’ve literally never seen anything like this.'”

The talented pro was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a congenital heart defect where there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart.

The former collegiate tennis player’s case, however, was serious - three times more serious, to be exact.

“Normally, you have one extra electrical pathway with this syndrome, but they found three of them in the surgery,” he explained.

Even with the supplemental pathways complicating the procedure, Wilson came through it with no issues.

It’s a good thing, too, because he was supposed to play in the MLP Season 1 Playoffs the very next week.

And It’s even better, then, that Wilson was told that he would be able to return to exercise just a week after surgery, despite being nervous about such a quick turnaround.


“I was basically asking the cardiologist to tell me that I couldn’t play because I was so scared,” he mentioned.

While still recovering, Wilson made his way to San Clemente, CA to try and play alongside his teammates on the Los Angeles Mad Drops. He was cleared to exercise on Wednesday with competition beginning Friday, and he played a key role in the Mad Drops’ championship victory a few days later.

Going from open heart surgery to the tensest moments of MLP Season 1 in the span of 10 days is probably enough excitement for a whole year for most people, but Wilson had something else significant on his plate for the latter half of 2023: preparing to adopt a baby girl.

He and his wife Brittany have been married for 10 years and have dealt with the challenges of infertility, enduring multiple surgeries and setbacks along the way.

“Several times, we just took a break and stopped pursuing anything else because it was just too overwhelming and too emotional,” Wilson shared.

Thomas and Brittany announced in November 2022 that they would be adopting a child, and they spent most of this year getting to know the birth family and preparing for parenthood.

Their daughter, Holyn Everly Wilson, was born in early September, and the adoption was made official in early November.

Thomas gives all the credit to Brittany as the pair continue to learn how to balance their new responsibilities.

“She’s the anchor of this whole situation, and I’m just the support guy that doesn’t really know how to do anything,” he joked. “I am changing diapers - not all of them - but I’ve changed a fair number.”

As 2023 nears its finish, Wilson faces an important question about his future in pickleball: whether or not he will pursue a full-time pro career.

“It would be tough because I love my job,” the senior account executive at AlertMedia admitted. “I’ve been there for five years, and it would be hard to give up a lot of relationships there.”

But even as the details of what pickleball will look like for him are still up in the air, Wilson’s going into January with a healthy heart and a newborn.

Seems like a pretty decent start to 2024.