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Nets’ scout survives heart attack during team practice

Jim Sann

Sometimes, surviving a life-threatening situation is about luck as much as anything.

Just ask Brooklyn Nets assistant coach and scout Jim Sann.

The father of two children less than 10 (who lost their mother to cancer three years ago), he was at the Nets’ practice Sunday when the 46-year-old suffered a heart attack and collapsed. If there was ever a right place to have a heart attack, Sann picked it reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

“I was on my way out,” Sann said by phone Tuesday afternoon from his bed in a Northern New Jersey hospital. “I was gone...”

And of all places that Sann could’ve gone into cardiac arrest on Sunday, he had been blessed with good timing, good fortune and the presence of one of the best trainers in the NBA: the Nets’ Tim Walsh.

Between CPR and a defibrillator, Walsh and his training staff brought Sann back to life. Sann awoke on his back unsure what had happened, only to see the trainers and coaches standing over him, and, yes, perhaps the surest sign he had returned to the living: “Kevin Garnett was yelling,” Sann said.

According to the report, Sann is a workout fanatic and is quite fit. However, he is also the poster child for ignoring the warning signs of heart trouble.

For maybe a month, Sann had dismissed the chest pains brought on by a valve blockage as heartburn, popping Zantac and fooling himself with one of the oldest cons of middle-aged men in the morgue: “Other people have heart attacks,” Sann told himself, “not me...”

“I had warning signs for weeks that this was going to happen, and I was stupid about it,” Sann told Yahoo Sports. “And my two kids were almost orphans because of that.”

I don’t want to do the “take it from someone who knows” thing, but I have been a guy who has battled high blood pressure for years and years, who saw some warning signs, who looked at his lifestyle and looked at his children and realized there needed to be a change. I finally became serious in the past year dropped some weight through diet and exercise (about 30 pounds).

I’ve been lucky. Yet that it is not enough. I need to watch the warning signs — and I am not alone. Sann’s story, if nothing else, should be a warning for a lot of us that it’s not someone else. It can be you.