Talford, a former basketball star at East Tennessee State, is home after skirting death when he suffered the attack. He had a total blockage, underwent bypass surgery and spent almost three weeks in the hospital.
“My teammates and family and friends, everybody came to the front when I was down,” the 52-year-old Talford said Tuesday morning. “Man, I tell you, it shows you I have a lot of people supporting me. They supported me all the way through to get me where I’m at right now four weeks later.”
Where he is now is on the road to recovery. He said the doctor told him once he got “everything cleaned out” he was going to feel 100% better.
“They’re saying everything is working properly,” he said. “My heart is doing well. I have to monitor my blood pressure to make sure it doesn’t go up and down, but everything is looking pretty good. I just have to get my full strength back. Me and my wife were just walking, trying to do some exercise to get my strength back.”
Talford’s former teammates said shortly after his attack that he wasn’t supposed to survive such a serious episode. When he finally got a chance to talk to the doctors, they told him the same thing.
“They said it was real serious,” he said. “If I hadn’t came in when I did, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I had a full, 100 percent blockage on my artery. The doctor said I looked good on the outside and real bad on the inside.”
Heart problems run in Talford’s family. His father had heart trouble and died at age 42. His brother underwent triple bypass surgery a few years ago.
“It’s definitely hereditary,” Talford said. “I’m in good shape. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. It runs in the family.”
Talford was inducted into the ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame not long before he became ill. During his rehabilitation, he says he has a goal in mind. He’d love to play basketball again, even if he knows he’d have to take it easy.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back on the court again,” he said. “Hopefully one day. Hopefully I make a full recovery.”