Heart Health: A tennis player’s journey to get back on court.

Heart Health Photo

Date: December 20, 2023
Categories: Health Focused, Heart

By River Cranford, Augusta Health Mentorship Student, Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School and Kristen Printy, Augusta Health

Be sure to watch Augusta Health Fitness’ Michael Campbell and Chad Reed talk about their programs as Keith shares his story.

Keith Pultz meets his friends every Monday and Tuesday at Augusta Health Fitness’ indoor tennis courts. “Tennis is important to me,” the Staunton resident said. “I enjoy the fellowship, the social environment, and the competition. There are lots of benefits to playing tennis.” In the fall of 2018, Pultz, 59, felt fatigued after playing tennis, and shortly after arriving home, his wife, Karen Lam, decided a medical professional should see him.

Care within minutes – not miles

Pultz was admitted immediately, and Augusta Health Cardiology treated him by putting two stents in the next day. Augusta Health Cardiology proudly provides nationally accredited cardiology care in our community. Patients treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis receive care from nurses and technicians specially trained in cardiac care, working alongside respected physicians. “Two people were critical in my recovery: my wife and Dr. Kenneth Sternberg,” said Pultz. “Dr. Sternberg and his medical team were amazing. They were attentive, communicated clearly, and it was a flawless experience.”

Keeping the momentum going

After finishing cardiac rehabilitation, Pultz transitioned to the RxEx Medical Fitness Program under the direction of Augusta Health Fitness Site Manager, Michael Campbell. The design of this Medical Fitness Program is for patients who need specialized programming and monitoring before transitioning to independent exercise. “We work with various medical conditions to educate the participant while teaching self-monitoring skills and progressing them toward independent exercise,” says Campbell.

Exercise professionals for the RxEx Medical Fitness Program work effectively as members of the extended healthcare team to provide exercise guidance to individuals with the most common chronic diseases. They utilize support strategies to help patients integrate regular physical activity into their lives.

The Right Call
“I knew I wanted to participate in the Medical Fitness Program to help my recovery,” said Pultz. “Michael was instrumental in helping me develop a routine and getting back on the tennis court.” Tennis is a life-long game offering a fun way to improve health. “We have players starting at the age of four, all the way to players well into their seventies and eighties,” says Augusta Health Tennis Coordinator/Head Pro, Chad Reed. “You can pick up the sport at any time. You don’t have to play competitively; you don’t have to play matches. You can hit back and forth for a great cardiovascular workout.”

No matter what activity you choose, enjoying it in a healthy and safe way is essential. “Do not ignore symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue,” warns Pultz. “Augusta Health is here for you.” If you experience any of these symptoms, have a medical professional evaluate you to ensure you can continue playing. For those with chronic medical conditions, speak to your physician to determine whether participating is safe.

If you have questions or would like more information, please visit www.augustahealth.com or contact:

Augusta Health Cardiology

Augusta Health Fitness
Michael Campbell
, Fitness Site Manager

Chad Reed, Tennis Coordinator/Head Pro