A coach's comeback: Travis Hudson two weeks after heart attack

Published: Apr. 19, 2018 at 9:01 PM CDT
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Two weeks after a life-threatening scare, Western Kentucky volleyball coach Travis Hudson sat down with 13 News reporter Kelly Dean on Thursday and opened up about his story and recent comeback.

"I love them very much like my own kids, and so my relationship with them is pretty deep," Hudson said. "I started getting a pretty deep chest pain, and it started radiating down my arms a little bit.

"I drove myself to the emergency room at Greenview Hospital.

The moment Hudson was hooked up to an EKG, the nurses knew something was very wrong.

"I could just see the expression on her face change," said Hudson. "She indicated to me that I was in fact in the middle of having a heart attack."

Just like a team on the court, the hospital room executing its play – one to save Hudson's life.

"It went from zero to 1,000 mph in about five seconds,” he said.

As it turned out, Hudson's heart attack was so severe that the survival rate of that type of attack is 12 percent. It's also known as the, “widow-maker.”

"You know, when I was on that table, in that moment and you're aware of what's going on. I can honestly say that what was in my heart – wasn't filled with a ton of regrets,” Hudson said.

Hudson defied the odds and is here today to talk about it.

"At least for now my purpose isn't complete yet," he said. "There's more in my heart to give, and certainly the good Lord hopefully felt the same way."

This wasn't Hudson's first time in a life-threatening situation. In 2010, while on a bus with his team, the driver suffered a heart attack. Hudson was able to get control of the wheel and prevented a situation that could have been much worse.

"I understand that I've beaten the odds on more than one occasion and there is purpose to why I'm here," he said.

He's a highly-respected coach and a father of two boys who are always on the go.

"All the boys wanted to know is if he was going to be the same dad we always had -- is he going to be able to go do all these things," said Hudson’s wife Cindy Hudson.

A heart attack on a Wednesday yet back to practice by Saturday, Hudson is a stranger to slow pace.

"It's very difficult to get him to slow down," Cindy said.

The Hudson family went through a roller coaster of emotions.

"We feel so blessed that he's still with us. The next 30 minutes you're thinking about the what if's," Cindy saidz

The near-death experience hasn't shaken their faith and their life mission to serve.

"It's important for us to continue to raise our boys in a way that they understand, too – that we're here to serve others and that's what we're going to continue to do," Hudson said.

That beating organ inside his chest today, allowing Hudson the chance again to be a coach, a father and a husband.

"As long as I still have air in my lungs, I'm always going to have that competitiveness and drive in my heart to be great, and to help them be great,” he said.

Hudson said it's been a difficult two weeks, but he is so appreciative of all the support from the team and especially the community. ​