Health Team

Pro basketball player proves heart disease can affect anyone

Posted February 14, 2013

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and even healthy, fit people can be at risk.

Pro basketball player Chris Wilcox knows that first hand, so he and his wife are spending Valentine's Day raising awareness about heart health.

Wilcox started his basketball career at Raleigh's Enloe High School before moving on to a national championship team at the University of Maryland. Currently, he plays for the Boston Celtics.

In the NBA, doctors keep a close eye on players' health.

"Everyone has to get a physical, starting off with a stress test," Wilcox said.

Last March, a stress test led to a follow-up exam that revealed a problem at the base of the aortic valve in Wilcox's heart.

"When he came home, I'm like, 'You're only 29. What do you mean heart surgery?'" his wife, Tiffany Wilcox, said.

Chris Wilcox NBA player proves elite athletes not immune to heart disease

Wilcox didn't finish the season. He needed open heart surgery right away, and his future with the NBA seemed uncertain.

"I'm 30, getting ready to have surgery on my heart. It's like, you know, how is my recover going to be from here?" Wilcox said.

But he fought hard to recover and get his body back into shape so he could return to the court. Less than a year later, he's back with Celtics – with no symptoms and no pain.

"I'm still going through it, but at the end of the day, you know, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me," he said.


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  • tierneemalinadeveaux Feb 20, 2013

    Vegans and vegetarians, listen up: if you want to eat that way, fine. But you really need to get off of the "meat is killing people" bandwagon because there are plenty of vegans and vegetarians who are dying of heart disease, cancer, and malnourishment. Good friend of mine wouldn't eat anything with a "face". When the cancer ravaged her body, her doctor told her she needed the protein to live, and she still wouldn't eat it. But she looked real pretty right before we buried her. Another friend miscarried because she was doing the vegan thing. Doctor told her if she wants to give birth, she needs plenty of protein! Yes, today's animals are loaded with hormones and all sorts of junk, but so are the leafy greens that you are snacking on in the store! They are sprayed with pesticides and chemicals that are not good for the body. Your days are numbered when you are born, so go on and eat and get over it.

  • kikinc Feb 19, 2013

    My friend's mother just had a heart attack and passed away. She was vegan, never drank or smoke, exercised regularly. Genetics play a big part in heart disease. Can't just blame it on diet.

  • CestLaVie Feb 18, 2013

    Were the animal products thousands of years ago loaded with antibiotics, herbicides, growth hormones?????? NO. In fact, thousands of years ago there were no animal "products", only animals, if that's what you're basing your theory on. Maybe YOU need to rethink your theory.

    The poultry, cows, pigs of today are treated with these "additives", all to make them bigger, faster & then, to keep them healthy from all the other additives. We THEN EAT these animals, thereby ingesting these substances too. We have been eating these animal "products" for decades now. Thus, the gazillions of people who are sick, diseased & dying in this country. WAKE UP.

  • UpChuck Feb 15, 2013

    So what if he was an "animal products" eater? Man has eaten animal products for thousands of years and we're still around. Eating vegan alone does not guarantee one a healthier life as there is no account taken for hereditary diseases, environmental surroundings, etc. People that are always complaining about animal products need to rethink their history.

  • CestLaVie Feb 15, 2013

    According to Dr. Dean Ornish: "”We have to go beyond the (U.S. dietary) guidelines to a low-fat vegetarian diet… Animal products are the main culprit in what is killing us. We can absolutely live better lives without them.”

    According to the American Dietetic Assn: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases . . . Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”

    Mr. Wilcox: Were you an animal products eater? I certainly hope & pray for you that you are not now. God bless.