Quantcast

From Open Heart Surgery to NBA Champion - Congrats Ronny Turiaf

Help Support ValveReplacement.org:

ElectLive

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2011
Messages
631
Location
Atlanta, GA
I'm not a fan of the Miami Heat, nor of the NBA that much either for that matter, but I'm a basketball junkie at heart, so I always at least tune in every year to the last few series of the playoffs. Probably even non sports fans have seen the headlines everywhere today of the triumphant (finally) story of LeBron James, the Big Three, etc, etc. Well, I'm going to ignore most of that, and focus instead on another triumphant story.

Ronny Turiaf played 3 minutes, scored 0 points, had 0 assists, and 1 rebound last night for Miami. Not very impressive. But, you know what, the winning story for him actually began 7 years ago. Some may already be aware of this...I did a quick search and see it was posted back when it happened. As for me, I remembered it vaguely but heart surgery wasn't really on my radar then so I didn't pay much attention at the time. But anyway, for those not aware, shortly after being drafted by the Lakers, at age 22, he was diagnosed with an aneurysm of the aortic root. He saw a very well known surgeon, Craig Miller, who told him he needed to operate (valve sparing root graft) if he wanted to continue (begin) his basketball career. So Turiaf agreed, and Dr. Miller performed the surgery, later saying: "He's such a big guy that you're down to your elbows when you have your hands in his chest." :biggrin2:

Now, you might guess, as I did, that being in tip-top physical condition helped Turiaf "coast" through the recovery process. Well, as it turned it, the initial stages will sound very familiar: he was in ICU for 2 days and stayed in the hospital for a week. Next, in his words: "The post-surgery recovery included a prescription for me to walk on a flat surface for five minutes four times a day. Thinking I'm a good athlete, I decided to push myself and walk up a hill...I felt sick, and had a big headache for 72 hours. After that, I never did more than the doctor said I should.”

But, as many of us know, it's not how you begin the recovery that's necessarily the most important, it's how you finish it, and once weeks became months, Turiaf made up ground quickly. Naturally, a full return to normal was still in question, so exercise stress tests were ordered, and in Dr. Miller's words: "We got him on the treadmill and tried to break our handiwork. We wanted to see if we could tear it apart and we couldn't. But he did almost break the treadmill." Obviously, Turiaf passed the test, and 6 months after open heart surgery, he made his return to the Lakers. Wow.

Well, in his career, Ronny Turiaf has never scored a lot of points and has primarily been a bench player. But, on the other hand, there also aren't than many basketball players in the world who manage to stay in the NBA for 7 years or more. Interestingly, though, he seems to me most well known for his energy, his spirit, and all the intangibles he brings to his teammates. In other words, he plays with a lot of (you guessed it) heart. He has used his experience to help others, also, starting a foundation to help children without insurance to pay for heart related imaging and surgical treatment.

So, anyway, given the big news of today, I thought this was a story worth repeating here, particularly to encourage folks on the pre-surgery side. Just more proof of returning to normal. Turiaf's story isn't talked about much anymore. Based on this quote, though, it sounds like that's the way he wants it to be: "It's a great feeling to be just talking about basketball ...I've moved on. I'm looking forward to not having to talk about my heart any more."

Congratulations, Ronny Turiaf.
 

Roberta

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
194
Location
Canada
I'm not a fan of the Miami Heat, nor of the NBA that much either for that matter, but I'm a basketball junkie at heart, so I always at least tune in every year to the last few series of the playoffs. Probably even non sports fans have seen the headlines everywhere today of the triumphant (finally) story of LeBron James, the Big Three, etc, etc. Well, I'm going to ignore most of that, and focus instead on another triumphant story.

Ronny Turiaf played 3 minutes, scored 0 points, had 0 assists, and 1 rebound last night for Miami. Not very impressive. But, you know what, the winning story for him actually began 7 years ago. Some may already be aware of this...I did a quick search and see it was posted back when it happened. As for me, I remembered it vaguely but heart surgery wasn't really on my radar then so I didn't pay much attention at the time. But anyway, for those not aware, shortly after being drafted by the Lakers, at age 22, he was diagnosed with an aneurysm of the aortic root. He saw a very well known surgeon, Craig Miller, who told him he needed to operate (valve sparing root graft) if he wanted to continue (begin) his basketball career. So Turiaf agreed, and Dr. Miller performed the surgery, later saying: "He's such a big guy that you're down to your elbows when you have your hands in his chest." :biggrin2:

Now, you might guess, as I did, that being in tip-top physical condition helped Turiaf "coast" through the recovery process. Well, as it turned it, the initial stages will sound very familiar: he was in ICU for 2 days and stayed in the hospital for a week. Next, in his words: "The post-surgery recovery included a prescription for me to walk on a flat surface for five minutes four times a day. Thinking I'm a good athlete, I decided to push myself and walk up a hill...I felt sick, and had a big headache for 72 hours. After that, I never did more than the doctor said I should.”

But, as many of us know, it's not how you begin the recovery that's necessarily the most important, it's how you finish it, and once weeks became months, Turiaf made up ground quickly. Naturally, a full return to normal was still in question, so exercise stress tests were ordered, and in Dr. Miller's words: "We got him on the treadmill and tried to break our handiwork. We wanted to see if we could tear it apart and we couldn't. But he did almost break the treadmill." Obviously, Turiaf passed the test, and 6 months after open heart surgery, he made his return to the Lakers. Wow.

Well, in his career, Ronny Turiaf has never scored a lot of points and has primarily been a bench player. But, on the other hand, there also aren't than many basketball players in the world who manage to stay in the NBA for 7 years or more. Interestingly, though, he seems to me most well known for his energy, his spirit, and all the intangibles he brings to his teammates. In other words, he plays with a lot of (you guessed it) heart. He has used his experience to help others, also, starting a foundation to help children without insurance to pay for heart related imaging and surgical treatment.

So, anyway, given the big news of today, I thought this was a story worth repeating here, particularly to encourage folks on the pre-surgery side. Just more proof of returning to normal. Turiaf's story isn't talked about much anymore. Based on this quote, though, it sounds like that's the way he wants it to be: "It's a great feeling to be just talking about basketball ...I've moved on. I'm looking forward to not having to talk about my heart any more."

Congratulations, Ronny Turiaf.
Another inspiring story to say 'yes there is life after OHS!'. Enjoyed the read.
 

Eva

Miracle Believer
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
4,237
Location
Redondo Beach, CA
Elective,

Thanks for sharing. I did not hear his story before....very inspiring. I also liked your wise words: "it's not how you begin the recovery that's necessarily the most important, it's how you finish it". :)
 
Top