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ST. CLOUD -- You hear about traumatic events changing the lives of those affected, but for one local man, he's working on getting his life back.

Sam Rudd, of Rice, has been practicing judo for 36 years. He says it's a way to escape from the world.

"You can't be thinking about papers that need to be written, or what the boss says, you can't think about those things."

But over the summer, one night would change his life.

"I was working on a house with a friend and something didn't feel right. I told my friend and he asked are you having a heart attack?"

Sam was experiencing a heart attack and was rushed to the emergency room where he had a stint and balloon pump put in his heart.

"I don't even remember going to the hospital."

Weak and vulnerable, feelings of doubt started to swim in his head.

"I had fears on not being able to do anything again," said Sam. Including being able to do the sport he loved again.

After months of cardiovascular therapy at CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center, Sam is determined to practice judo again.

Under supervision, Sam has begun practicing judo, with the help of his son, to get back what he thought he lost.

Cardiologist Tim Schuchard with CentraCare Health has been monitoring Sam's workouts and is happy with his progress.

"He did great, we had him monitored and I thought he did really well."

Sam says he has more energy since the surgery and feels better than before.

He says even when obstacles get in your way, never give up.

"Don't give up, find something you love to do and make that your goal to do again."

Once cleared, Sam will resume teaching judo classes at St. Cloud State University on Monday and Wednesday nights.

 

Sam Rudd practices judo with his son months after heart attack. (PHOTO: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)