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Hokies coach Pete Hughes had a heart attack on June 5, and his main artery was 99 percent blocked.
MICHAEL SHROYER | Special toThe Roanoke Times
His doctor said if Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes had not gone to the hospital, he probably would have soon had a fatal heart attack.
The Roanoke Times | File May
Virginia Tech’s Pete Hughes said he didn’t think his heart attack had anything to do with the stress of coaching.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Pete Hughes thought he might have a salmon bone stuck in his esophagus.
He was actually having a heart attack.
For more than six hours on the night of June 5, the Virginia Tech baseball coach thought he had indigestion or heartburn or that something was caught in his throat or chest. He “felt terrible” as he attended his son’s baseball game. He then watched the telecast of the Boston Bruins’ double-overtime playoff win before driving himself to the hospital at 12:50 a.m. on June 6.
“It took me 6 1⁄2 hours to realize that something was off,” he said.
Tests revealed he had suffered a heart attack and that the main artery to his heart was 99 percent blocked.
Hughes, 45, was stunned.
He underwent surgery June 6 to have a stent implanted and was released from the hospital the following day.
“I got really lucky,” Hughes said Tuesday in a phone interview while driving to Pennsylvania on a recruiting trip. “I’m glad I went in. … [His doctor] said if I didn’t go in, I would’ve had a massive, probably fatal heart attack within the week.
“I couldn’t believe it.”
Hughes’ oldest brother suffered a heart attack earlier this year. Their father suffered a heart attack at the age of 44 and underwent quintuple bypass surgery at 60.
“My doctor said you can’t beat bad genetics,” Hughes said. “I do all the right things, just because I know I’m fighting a bad genetic history.”
Hughes, whose team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament on June 2, said he does not think his heart attack was related to the stress of the season or his lifestyle.
“I thought I was healthy. I eat right and I exercise every day,” Hughes said. “I thought I was doing all the right things to prevent this.”
Hughes said he now feels great.
“I’ve just got to kind of balance the medications that are going to be a part of my life,” he said. “I’ve got my energy level back. The last two months of the season, I couldn’t figure out why I was so exhausted — low energy, couldn’t get out of bed. Looking back now, it makes total sense.”
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