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Heart Attack: Sports Director Rob Namnoum tells his story of survival

rob and cassie namnoum Cropped
Rob and Cassie Namnoum

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Five months after his heart attack, KRDO NewsChannel 13 Sports Director Rob Namnoum is sharing the personal details of his survival.

What unfolded on Sept. 9th, 2019, came without warning.

Rob was playing basketball before work -- a normal day -- when he started to feel sick.

"I thought one of two things: I thought maybe I was getting the flu, or I was severely dehydrated. Probably within five minutes, I felt like garbage. Like, indescribable. Like nothing I've ever felt," said Namnoum.

Driving home, he just couldn't shake it.

"I thought, 'God, maybe I'm having a heart attack.' I'm like, no, I didn't have that tingling in my left arm."

At home, he started to uncontrollably sweat. A drink of cold water didn't help. By then the pain in his back was excruciating.

"I texted Cassie, and I could barely get the text out. I was like, 'can you come home?'"

Thankfully, his wife Cassie, who's a teacher, looked at her phone -- she had it nearby to monitor her daughter Grace's diabetes.

"I'm like, 'Now?' He knows I can't just leave," said Cassie Namnoum.

She raced to their house - which is a mere minute from her school, and was taken aback by who she saw.

"I've never seen someone this color. He was in a pool of sweat. I thought he had taken a shower," recalled Cassie.

Cassie was insistent: she was calling 911. And it's a good thing she acted quickly -- the more time went by, the more damage would be done to his heart.

EMS workers arrived and told Rob what was happening. He was, in fact, having a heart attack. And, it was arguably the worst-known kind: the widow-maker.

"I just remember being wheeled in and I was so weak, and I was trying to tell Cassie I was going to be okay. She didn't hear me - I was that weak," said Rob.

Rob was in bad shape. The team of medical experts had to use paddles and give him an electric shock twice in the ER.

Rob's cardiologist, Dr. Manhart at UCHealth inserted a catheter up his radial artery, towards his heart to inject a trouble-shooting dye into his heart. From there, a stent ballooned, opening up his artery and opening up the blood flow.

"As soon as they did that, I felt instantly better," recounted Rob.

"When people have a total occlusion or blockage of that artery, it can be fatal. The other arteries are just as deadly, but that artery has been notorious for causing death from a heart attack," said Dr. Manhart. "I think he was a little shocked - I don't think he expected to be in that position at his age."

Rob was released from the hospital a mere three days after his heart attack, and came home to a deep appreciation for what he has.

"When we came home that night, Cassie's mom, Cassie, Robbie and Grace were downstairs and they were laughing. It was music to my ears. It was so awesome. That was the toughest thing, being in the hospital afterwards. I would have missed out on growing old with Cassie, I would have missed out on seeing the kids graduate from high school, college, walking Grace down the aisle someday. That got me. That hit me hard," Rob said.

Life has -- for the most part -- returned to normal now, five months later. Rob is back to playing basketball, and working a full-slate as Sports Director. He has no restrictions from his doctor.

His diet has changed, however. He's on a low-sodium, smaller-portion diet, and eating Boca Burgers and multi-grain bread, and has almost entirely cut out red meat.

Rob's best advice: be aware of your family history. It could mean the difference between life and death.

"I was one of those guys I went to the doctor for a checkup every four to five years 'cause I'm a guy. My grandfather had two heart attacks. He died from the second one."

For more on heart attack symptoms, click here.

Heather Skold

Heather is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Heather here.


1 Comment

  1. Rob, My husband was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer. He was given 6 months to live. You remind me a lot of him. He thought I will not be here to walk my Daughter Holly down the aisle. I will never know what its like to hold my grandchildren. There was one night I prayed “God take my car, my house but please don’t take my Glen. Two days later our car was reposed and three days later our house burn to the ground but eleven years later I have my Glen. As you said God wasn’t ready for you. Glen walked our daughter down the aisle 2010 and on March 30 2017 Holly gave birth to twin boys.

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