TBI and heart attack survivor: “I’m blessed”

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Back in 2013 when he was asked to build a giant heart for a Cassadee Pope music video, Ricky Price never imagined that six years later his own heart would require a bit of reconstruction.

“I had a heart attack and four stents placed in November,” the Nashville native explained during a recent visit to Hennepin Healthcare’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, where a brief anatomy class is part of each patient’s rehab.

“I mentioned to the instructor that I built a heart for Cassadee’s video ‘I Wish I Could Break Your Heart’ and the irony of how my heart ended up literally broken. And also how I could fix almost anything – but I couldn’t fix my own heart.”

Price has worked hard his entire life. In addition to the larger-than-life heart, he built and repaired custom cars for many people – including NASCAR drivers. That all came to a screeching halt in 2015 when he was involved in a car crash.

“After the accident, I’d sit on the edge of my bed and not know what to do next,” he said. “I was used to working 12-16 hours a day, and I couldn’t even work for 15 minutes. I was losing my eyesight. My back and hip hurt. I didn’t know what to do – and I didn’t know why. I prayed that I’d find answers to what was going on.”

After being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) a local doctor referred him to Hennepin Healthcare’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program.

“I learned that the brain is the greediest part of your body and now that really makes sense. It uses a lot more energy than I realized, which is why I was feeling so tired.”

Since being seen at Hennepin Healthcare, he had surgery to restore his eyesight as well as having his back and hip repaired. “God answered my prayers,” Price said. “I’m blessed.”

This year’s heart attack came as a surprise after some of his TBI symptoms were resolved, but Price appreciates the comprehensive care he’s received by his doctors, nurses and therapists.

“I’m feeling better every day and have a lot to look forward to. It really helps having support from my family and an entire health care team behind me to help keep me fighting. It’s made all the difference. I’m so grateful for this hospital for saving my life – not once, but twice.”

From TBI care to cardiac care, Price has found a health care “home” at Hennepin Healthcare.

Price’s heart is full with the addition of another grandchild in 2019. Good thing he’s got a big, resilient one that’s in the right place.

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