Sweat drips down his forehead as he squints at the basket. The crowd is silent. The only sound he hears is the inhale and exhale of his own breath. He takes a deep breath through his nose; the game riding on him making this shot. Thoughts of the months of training are pushed from his mind as his focuses solely on the basket. The basketball feels taut, alive almost, in his hands as he bounces it—one, two, three times—on the court. He exhales. Aims. Releases the ball into an arc soaring over the heads of friends and foe alike.
No, we’re not talking about game seven of the NBA Finals…we’re talking about the Basketball Competition at the 2013 World Heart Games! What are the World Heart Games, you ask? It’s an annual Olympic-style competition for graduates of phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation. This year the Games took place in Decatur, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, from May 17-18th.
In addition to providing a safe, athletic competition for cardiovascular patients, the World Heart Games helps participants and their families understand that through an appropriate return to regular physical activity, accompanied with a few lifestyle changes, cardiac patients can restore their confidence and inject the “joy of sports” back into their lives.
Says LSI President Korey Sixbury, “I was really impressed by how important it was to each competitor that they performed well after training so hard for their events. Another favorite event of mine was the Predictive Walk Test, which LSI Clinical Specialist, Truie Benninger, helped to judge. The bottom line here is that heart patients from all over the country trained leading up to the event, competed well, and had a lot of fun doing it! I encourage cardiac rehabs everywhere to enter a team of their patients into the next World Heart Games.”
So, are you ready to join us at the World Heart Games in 2014? There are plenty of sports and games to play: soccer, bocce ball, basketball, prediction walk, and golf putting—just to name a few! Please visit http://acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2013/03/25/world_heart_games for more information about the World Heart Games. See you next year!