TOO MUCH TO BEAR: Sam Adams batting for Ballina Bears against the Casino Cavaliers in the Hooker League final at Oakes Oval, Lismore, in March.
TOO MUCH TO BEAR: Sam Adams batting for Ballina Bears against the Casino Cavaliers in the Hooker League final at Oakes Oval, Lismore, in March. BRENDEN ALLEN

Bear shows lots of heart

BALLINA BEARS batsman Sam Adams couldn't participate fully in their heart-stopping Far North Coast LJ Hooker League final win over the Casino Cavaliers last season because he was having heart-saving surgery in Brisbane.

Although 'devastated' that he couldn't be there for the dramatic ending on the second day of the final, Adams' surgery just couldn't wait.

You see, the 24-year-old had been diagnosed with a congenital heart problem known as 'coarctation of the aorta'.

“It's a tightening of the aorta which was down to 3mm in a little section (normally 20-25mm), so there wasn't much blood getting through to my legs. In fact they couldn't get a pulse in my legs.”

Adams hadn't show any symptoms of the heart problem apart from feeling a little 'tired'. He may never have known anything about it until he went for a physical before starting a new job.

“My blood pressure was ridiculously high and they thought at first that it was my kidneys and then I had CAT scans, ultrasounds and all sorts of things,” he said.

“Once they found out I had a congenital heart condition they said it just had to be done otherwise I'd only have a few years left. With my blood pressure, my heart would have just given up.”

So Adams found out two weeks before Ballina's final showdown against the Cavaliers that he would have to go into hospital for surgery.

He took the field for the first day of the two-day match, but was in hospital for treatment the day the Bears claimed their first title since 1995-96.

“I was devastated that I couldn't play the second day, and I could have put it off for another month, but that just meant it was more pain I would have to deal with and longer before I was out of the woods again,” he said.

“That Sunday I was in my hospital bed getting updates from the club president.

“When we won, it was pretty emotional for me, not even being there. I was pretty happy, and almost shed a tear.”

Adams now has a scar about a 'foot long' on his back, but has made a rapid recovery after having his aorta repaired.

“I work two jobs, one as an apprentice electrician and the other behind the bar,” he said.

Adams made his comeback against Southern Districts in the opening round of the 2009-10 LJ Hooker League and made a well-compiled half century.

“I felt pretty good out there but I was a bit tired after the game,” he said.



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