Chuck Hayes and the Sacramento Kings are breathing a sigh of relief after additional tests on his heart came back negative. As a result, Hayes has agreed to terms with the Kings again, after the team voided his contract on Monday. Dr. Steven Nissen is the head of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and led the team that evaluated the Kings big man. He joins us for a conversation in this week’s Cowbell Kingdom Podcast.
- Will this condition at all slow down the Kings power forward/center on the court? “It’s really quite extraordinary what a professional world-class athlete can do. I mean, he practically broke the treadmill. He just kept right on walking as we went faster and steeper. And his physical capacity is outstanding, as you would expect for a professional athlete, and we just don’t think there’s any reason to be concerned about his heart. I think everybody in the sports area is concerned because of stories of Pistol Pete Maravich and the story of Reggie Lewis in Boston, and so there’s a certain cautionary approach that’s taken and that’s the right thing to do.”
- Dr. Nissen also hesitated to even call Hayes’ condition an abnormality. “There’s something that you need to understand and that is that athletes do have hearts that are a little bit different. They’re bigger, they’re a bit thicker, they’re very powerful hearts. They appear on these scans somewhat different than the hearts of those of us that are your average kind of weekend athlete.”
- Contrary to what some may have speculated, Hayes’ agent was not involved in seeking the Cleveland Clinic’s follow-up evaluation. “No, his agent wasn’t involved. He was referred to me by Dr. Reginald Low, who is the chief of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis. He happens to be an old friend of mine and a very fine physician. He wanted a second opinion and we were happy to offer it.”
Music Credit: Ronald Jenkees – Guitar Sound