Heart disease in women is a killer more common than cancer or other ailments, and this year’s “Go Red for Women” awareness campaign features a gathering tomorrow (Friday) in Ames. One speaker at the American Heart Association luncheon will be former NBA player Fred Hoiberg who’s coming to tell about how he learned he had heart disease.
As a professional athlete, he says sometimes they think they’re invincible. He’d just had two of his best years in the NBA, felt great and was in the best shape of his life, but says “Little did I know I had a ticking time bomb in my chest.” He didn’t find out until two years ago when he went to the doctor for a routine physical.
He had no symptoms, unlike many people who have warning signs and risk factors like pain in the arm, a smoking habit, or overweight. Hoiberg found out he had a congenital heart defect found in about one in a hundred people. He went in because he’d applied to get a life insurance policy and they required an echo-cardiogram. The test was done and showed he had an enlarged aorta. It had to be taken care of quickly before it ruptured.
In June of last year he had a pacemaker implanted at the Mayo clinic, and Hoiberg’s become a spokesman for heart disease awareness. He’ll be accompanied by his mother when he comes to speak at Friday’s luncheon in Ames, which is combined with educational events and a fundraiser for the regional chapter of the American Heart Association.
Hoiberg was drafted out of Iowa State in the second round by Indiana in 1995 and played with the Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves before having a pacemaker implanted last year. He turned down an offer to play when he decided to retire this year.
Related web sites:
Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” promotion