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Health Watch: Cardiac Rehab Program Tailored for First Responders

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Scott Sayer lives a very active and demanding life.

A veteran detective with the Dallas Police Department — healso plays soccer and ice hockey every week. But one day while playing— he justdidn't feel right.

"I knew something was wrong I just thought I was justgetting old," he says.

It was his heart.

He had 85 percent blockage. Sayer underwent by–pass surgeryat the young age of 39. His father had the same surgery at the same age.

Sayer says, "It really hits home when it looks likeyou're on the same path as your dad. "

After heart surgery Sayer wanted to get back to his sportsand his job.

He eventually found a rehab program called "Return toWork Lab."

It's designed especially for people with physically demandinglifestyles and careers.

"By the time they get out of here they've used this as aplatform to test themselves," says Jenny Adams, a researcher for Baylor.

She started the program back in 2008.

"We take more of a coaching and a personal trainingaspect instead of the cookie cutter type rehab," she says.

She built a 10 week regiment that got Sayer back on thestreets as a detective.

"I would come strike the dummy routinely over and over,"says Sayer. "I would drag this around and flip him over like hand cuffingtechniques. Typically we would practice strikes—openhanded strikes.  I didn't want to go out with my partner andget in a situation where we had to get physical and I would pass out and now mypartners life is in danger"

And now at the age of 44 — Sayer feels his whole life is infront of him.

"I want to be there for my kids after long into afterthey get in college."

Although the "return to work" program was initiallycreated with police officers in mind, it has expanded and is now available toany patient recovering from heart surgery at Baylor.