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Talford’s teammates rally around him after heart attack

Joe Avento • Oct 10, 2019 at 1:49 PM

When word spread that Calvin Talford had a massive heart attack, his former teammates did what they have done for years and continue to do to this day. They rallied around their fallen comrade.

Talford, a former East Tennessee State basketball star, remained in the hospital Thursday after suffering a heart attack Wednesday. According to friend’s Facebook posts, Talford underwent double bypass surgery and doctors were hoping for a recovery.

He was surrounded by family and a room full of former teammates on Wednesday night.

“I got to see him briefly,” former All-American point guard Mister Jennings said. “He was starting to breathe on his own. It was a total blockage. He really wasn’t supposed to make it through that, but he’s stronger than most people.

”That was one of the things I loved about him as a teammate, he was a tough guy. He didn’t wilt under pressure. He was always going to stay in there fighting. That was one of the things I told him. I know he’s going to keep fighting. I saw the look in his eyes when I told him that. He was squeezing my hand.”

Talford, a key member of the ETSU teams that won four consecutive Southern Conference championships from 1989-92, was recently inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. A Castlewood, Virginia, native and multi-sport high school superstar, he is still regarded as one of the best to ever play in Southwest Virginia and was inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame in 2008.

“He’s doing a little bit better, but he’s still not out of the woods,” former teammate Marty Story said. “He still has a long road ahead of him. We’re all praying for Calvin. He has a lot of people praying for him, believing in the power of prayer.”

Alvin West, another key member of those championship teams, died suddenly last year, and when word of Talford’s condition spread, his teammates couldn’t help but think of that.

”It was almost surreal lookin at Calvin, seeing him there,” Jennings said. “I thought, ‘This can’t be happening again.’ It was like re-opening the wound.”

Talford had been doing what he loves most leading up to the attack, playing basketball.

“I told him it’s time for him to relax a little bit more,” Jennings said. “He nodded his head.”

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