ASU football player back with team after open heart surgery

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas State University football team has about 110 players on the roster and all go through a vigorous health screening.  Last fall one player's life was saved, but his football career was put in jeopardy.

Last August ASU wide receiver Allen Muse was at the top of his game.  After overcoming obstacles through his teen years he was ready to start his college football career.  Those dreams were dashed during a health screening when an EKG came back negative and doctors found a life altering condition.

"They told me it would be over.  That was the first words that came out of their mouth and it just it broke my heart, really," said Allen Muse.

Muse recalls the words that doctors told him one year ago.  News that he was not healthy enough to play a game he loves.

"I told them, 'I'm going to come back.  I just have to make it through this'," said Muse.

Muse said further tests revealed he had extra tissue on his heart.  That extra tissue stopped the blood from flowing through his heart and body. 

"They gave me a choice of having the surgery or just quitting football all around and I told them this is something I want to do.  I love this game.  I wouldn't trade it for nothing," said Muse.

Muse, it turns out, is use to adversity.  He's a Hurricane Katrina survivor.  He was in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck and had to sleep on a bridge for three days before being rescued.  Surgery was just another bump in the road.

"Everybody thought I really wasn't coming back.  Everybody thought the surgery would take more than it took from me," said Muse.

ASU Head Coach Steve Roberts said he never thought he would see muse on the field again.

"With the stresses and strains of playing college football from a physical standpoint he was definitely in danger of having a heart attack or having a situation that would be very difficult to recover from," said Roberts.

Muse said this last year has been "weird".  What was supposed to be a year long recovery took him months if not weeks to recover from.

"You just don't hear of people coming back from that and being able to play such a physical sport like football with the violence that goes on and the effort that it takes," said Roberts.

"I told them I'm going to just keep working hard and doing my best and whatever happens, happens," said Muse.

In the first game of the season, Allen Muse was on the football field at ASU Stadium where he finally made his first college play.

"That was the first play I ever got in for a college game and he threw me the ball so that kind of caught me off guard.  I told him not to do that again!" said Muse.

Muse said football is just a sport, but loves the fact that it teaches him about friendship and sportsmanship, a lesson he knows all to well.

Since he was redshirted last year, Muse still has four years of eligibility left for the Red Wolves.

©2009 KAIT

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