WAYNE Milera could only think of what it would mean for his draft chances when he was recently told he had been living with a heart condition his whole life.

"I was a bit frightened, but it was more about how it could have hurt my draft hopes," the 18-year-old said.

"I was pretty worried and shocked when I found out, because I had never had any problems with it."

Milera, a classy half-forward from South Australia set to be a first-round pick at November's NAB AFL Draft, was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome in the middle of the year.

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As part of the under-18 championships program with his state team, he underwent an ECG medical test that detects cardiac abnormalities. He had never had any problems with his heart, but when the team doctor called him back to look over his results, Milera was informed he had been living with the complication. 

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome causes an increased heartbeat through an extra electrical pathway inside the heart, meaning there isn't a big enough break between beats.

Milera's specialist treated former player Nathan Eagleton, who carried the same issue, and told him it had to be fixed if he was to pursue an AFL career. If it wasn't corrected, there was a chance Milera could collapse on the field.

"We booked a day to have an electrophysiology study and a cardiac operation if I needed it," Milera said. "The specialist could have left it if there was no danger, but he saw there could be some problems so did the cardiac operation that day at the end of August.

"They did keyhole surgery through a vein in my groin and burnt out the electrical pathway. It's all fine now, but at the time I was worried about what clubs might think."

He has since put their minds (and his own) at ease, with surgery the only thing that's been able to stop Milera's brilliant second half of the season, which has seen him rise into the minds of recruiters as a top-10 pick.

He wasn't allowed to play in Central District's elimination final a few days after the operation – "I was gutted about that," he said – but he returned with a sharp display in the semi-final.

The Indigenous prospect, who is a nephew of former Sydney Swans star Michael O'Loughlin and a distant relation to ex-Saint Terry Milera, kicked three goals from 17 disposals to steer his side into the preliminary final.

Their finals campaign ended at that point late last month, but Milera's run of form at senior SANFL level, including a five-goal and 25-touch game against Glenelg late in the season, has seen him become one of the most wanted goalkickers in the draft.

The 185cm Milera possesses a few tricks: he's crafty in the air, quick at ground level and hits the scoreboard. He's been used on the wing and finished his national carnival at half-back, but feels most damaging stationed near goal.

"I wanted to crack into the League team at Central District and hold a spot in there, so to be able to play in the finals was exciting," Milera said.

"The recruiters have said they'd like to see me push my disposal count up a little bit more, because I'm normally around the 15 mark. That game against Glenelg was my first after being dropped to the reserves, which was a bit disheartening, so to come back in and play well was exciting."

Milera's ascent this year has built nicely. He started the season in the Central District senior team, enjoyed a flashy and productive under-18 championships, and finished the season as one of the most talked-about prospects thanks to his hot form.

He hadn't played state level football before this season, but always thought he could push himself to the top level.

"I guess people could be surprised, because I've jumped out of nowhere, really," he said. "But I always believed I could do it. Hopefully I've shown that now."