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Terry Caro – Cardiac Rehab Success Story

Back in the game: After being sidelined by a heart attack, Terry Caro has learned to prioritize his heart health

There are certain things that stand out in Terry Caro’s heart.

The first is his family. Then comes football. He’s a former player for Oklahoma State University and the Dallas Cowboys.

Then comes youth athletics. The 55-year-old Lancaster resident serves with U.S. Track & Field and founded Lancaster Lightning Youth Sports, a nonprofit that helps young athletes improve their skills, stay in school, and earn scholarships.


But on April 29, what stood out most in Terry’s heart was a 100 percent blockage in a major artery of the heart.

“It’s kind of like how Muhammad Ali shocked the world when he knocked out Sonny Liston, and nobody had expected him to win that fight,” Terry says. “I shocked the people in my world, because they could not believe I had a heart attack.”

Terry couldn’t believe it either when the paramedics told him en route to the hospital.

“I had never had a heart attack before, and I wasn’t having any chest pain or numbness,” Terry says. “If my wife hadn’t been home and called 911, I would have been gone for sure.”

Taking back the field

At Methodist Charlton Medical Center, interventional cardiologist Tim T. Issac, MD, FACC, went to work opening the blocked artery.

“There was a large part of the heart not getting any blood flow,” he says. “Terry’s story drives home the fact that you can be a fitness warrior but still have a heart attack. He had a remarkable recovery, but we can’t underestimate the importance of nutrition.”

Terry has since cut fried and high-fat foods from his diet, and he underwent cardiac rehabilitation at the Fitness Center and Fit Zone at Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

“I’ve always worked out and trained, but having them be able to monitor my heart rate, take my blood pressure, and keep an eye on things was great,” Terry says. “If I was out there doing it by myself, I’d be overdoing it.”

A new kind of role model

Terry couldn’t wait to get back on the track with his young athletes, and he now knows he’s a walking testimony to the importance of taking heart health seriously. His words of advice:

“Don’t think it can’t happen to you, because I never thought in a million years that I’d have a heart attack. I’m thankful to the people who rushed to take care of me, and now I know that I need to take care of me, too.”