Heart attack patient heads off to National Senior Games

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-11 19:38:43-04

MERIDIAN — It's a sensation you're never expecting.

"I laid down on a bench and was sweating profusely and then all of a sudden I got a very sharp pain right here," said 77-year-old Jim Lucher, pointing at his chest, "ER doctor walked in, took a look at me and he said, 'you're having a heart attack'."

It's especially a surprise when you work out every day. Jim Lucher had a heart attack in 2013, and he's been doing rehab ever since, to get him back to his unique fitness goal: competing at the National Senior Games.

"In the 50-meter dash I hold the Idaho state record for my age group," said Lucher.

He qualified for his first national games in 2009, and this week he heads off to Albuquerque to compete against other athletes over 50 years old in the 50 meters, 100, and 200-meter dash.

"I don't know how fast I run, but I can tell you this, I'm half as fast as Usain Bolt," Lucher says with a laugh.

His rehab allows doctors to monitor his heart rate with every step, and he even holds a rehabilitation record for creating a new unique workout with his doctors.

"We actually devised as printing interval program to really see, allow Jim to feel safe when he is performing his sprinting activities," said interim director of St. Luke's Heart Health and Rehabilitation Center Neil Melvin.

Beyond the senior games, Jim competes on a local senior softball league and recruits his team members from the treadmills next to him.

"I've actually met people here that I've brought into the softball league," said Lucher.

Jim's heart is now in good health, and he's bringing his positive mindset off the treadmills to finish line.

"It says never, never, never quit, and in competition, I wear one of these," said Jim, displaying the bracelet, "and I also hand them out to people that I think maybe could benefit from them."