In 2006, Dr. Stuart Sanders walked into a cafeteria crowded with cardiac and pulmonary rehab patients from all over the world who’d come to compete in what would later be known as the World Heart Games (WHG). The moment he stepped inside he was welcomed with applause—a sign of thanks to the man who helped organize the event. Overwhelmed by the display of gratitude, Dr. Sanders began to tear up.
WHAT IS THE WORLD HEART GAMES?
Originally an idea thought up by a group of nurses, physical therapists and exercise physiologists, the World Heart Games is an international competition sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine for people who’ve been affected by or have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The event features Olympic-style competitions over a two-day period, including tennis, golf, bowling, ping-pong and even Bocce. Participants compete for medals as teams (organized by their local cardiac rehab program) or as individuals.
“You know, it just gets people fired up,” said Dr. Sanders, Chairman of the World Heart Games Committee. “We look at it as a way to inspire participants of cardiac rehab and the general public to exercise and get in shape. It’s also good for cardiac rehab professionals to see patients and clients having a great time.”
WORLD HEART GAMES IMPACT
Though it may be smaller than the Olympics, the impact of the World Heart Games is greater than you might think. While serving as an internist with a special interest in cardiac rehabilitation for over 30 years, Dr. Sanders has seen firsthand just how much a morale boost the games can be:
“When people have heart issues, they come in feeling pretty depressed,” he said. “For patients, I think the games really give them something to look forward to and train for. It’s great fun seeing these people enthusiastically embrace it and say ‘Hey, I’m an athlete again!’ For me, that’s very rewarding, as it is for most cardiac rehab professionals.”
As the games’ corporate sponsor, LSI believes the World Heart Games is also a chance to raise awareness on the benefits of cardiac rehab and the fight against cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that participating in cardiac rehab decreases your mortality rate by 26 percent, and some studies say even higher.
We believe World Heart Games is an important event because it provides a great opportunity for cardiac rehab patients and professionals to come together, reclaim the joy of sports, make memories, build a support system and raise awareness for the entire industry.
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR WORLD HEART GAMES 2016
This year’s World Heart Games will be held on May 20-21 in Charlotte, NC. We invite you to sign up your patients and come cheer on your athletes. Remember, you can register as a team or an individual. If you or your team needs financial assistance, check out the World Heart Games brochure for a few creative fundraising ideas. Also, to request the WHG promotional toolkit (including the pictured poster), email Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space is still available for this year’s games. To register, visit the World Heart Games registration page.