Tammy Spencer Bey has outlined herself as an athlete.
She performed softball from a younger age by means of highschool. In school, Tammy was on a flag soccer staff.
She continued exercising whereas working full-time, pursuing a grasp’s diploma and elevating three women as a single mom.
When her daughters had been older, Tammy might lastly do what she’d at all times dreamed of – play sort out soccer.
In 2009, Tammy joined the Pittsburgh Passion as a large receiver. The franchise is a part of the Women’s Football Alliance, an expert full-contact league.
“I love the game and I love that we were able to play a sport that’s dominated by men,” she mentioned. “When you put those pads on and you’re playing against other players and hitting and getting tackled, I can’t describe the rush.”
Tammy retired from the squad in 2014, when she was 41. She might really feel her age and frightened that any accidents would take longer to heal. Plus, she’d simply gotten married.
But she did not surrender soccer or the Passion. She and her husband, Barata Bey, began teaching for the staff. Tammy additionally performed in a softball league and walked repeatedly.
She took three antacid tablets and stationed herself in entrance of a fan to chill down. Her garments had been getting damp.
Suddenly she felt completely exhausted, like she might sleep on the spot.
“You look terrible,” a co-worker mentioned. “Something’s not right. I think we should call 911.”
“If you don’t at least call your husband, I’m calling 911,” her colleague mentioned.
Finally, Tammy referred to as Barata and described how she felt.
“Why are you even at work?” he requested.
By the time she arrived on the hospital, Tammy felt like her head was going to blow up. She additionally had tightness in her left armpit and felt nauseous.
“Something’s occurring together with your coronary heart,” a physician instructed her after a number of hours of testing.
“My heart?” mentioned Tammy. “That’s weird.”
The subsequent morning, medical doctors carried out a cardiac catheterization process to get a greater look inside her coronary heart.
“Ms. Bey, we’ve found the culprit,” a physician mentioned. “Your proper coronary artery is absolutely blocked. We’re going to place in a stent to clear the blockage and you will be out of right here in 25 minutes.”
Doctors instructed her the one possible trigger was household historical past. Tammy, who’s adopted, has no details about the well being historical past of her beginning mother and father.
As she was being wheeled again into her hospital room, Barata appeared up.
“Wow, Tammy, your color is back,” he mentioned. “I didn’t realize how gray you were.”
But her thoughts was in turmoil.
“At first I kept beating up on myself,” she mentioned. “Was it because I like fries and sweet tea after practice?”
Intellectually she knew the blockage had developed over time, however she additionally vowed to make each constructive change she might.
She began with eight weeks of cardiac rehabilitation.
“When they first put me on the treadmill to see where I was, and I couldn’t run, that really hit me,” she mentioned. “I wanted to get again to the place I used to be previous to the coronary heart assault,
Within months, Tammy was operating and lifting weights. She began enjoying league softball a 12 months later and began teaching a 12 months after that, in 2018, generally even filling in for absent gamers.
Although she was already consuming nicely, she reduce out crimson meat and bread and added extra vegatables and fruits to her weight loss plan, She’s been capable of cut back her each day drugs from 5 to 3 and decrease the dosages.
Barata adopted her lead.
“We’re a team in it, and I can really feel the benefit,” mentioned Barata, who works to handle his ldl cholesterol,
A 12 months after her coronary heart assault, Tammy organized a well being summit at her church. Her audience was Black ladies. She needed them to know that whereas 44% of ladies total have heart problems59% of Black ladies are affected, in accordance with American Heart Association statistics.
“I’m enthusiastic about bringing consciousness to coronary heart illness and stroke,” Tammy mentioned. “Especially in the Black community, as we need to be aware of the health disparities, aware of the food we’re eating and be proactive about health and train,
Tammy mentioned the center assault made her extra grateful and motivated.
“I am more joyful, I live better, I eat better,” she mentioned. “I am a testimony of a woman who had a heart attack, and it didn’t stop me from living the life I wanted to live. If I can do it, you can do it too. You can recover.”
Barata mentioned his spouse has at all times impressed others, and much more so now.
“Tam’s always been a blessing to everyone that knows her,” he mentioned. “But the heart attack has taken her care for other human beings to a higher level.”
American Heart Association News covers coronary heart and mind well being. Not all views expressed on this story replicate the official place of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you’ve got questions or feedback about this story, please electronic mail [email protected],
By Diane Daniel, American Heart Association News
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