Torp's Sister Back in Action Following Heart Issue

The following is a story about Utah State women's basketball player Anne-Marie Torp. She is the sister of CU punter John Torp. She played for Utah State in 2004 before encountering heart complications prior to the 2005 season. Torp underwent open-heart surgery in May and was just recently cleared to return to full participation for Utah State this season. The story comes courtesy of the Utah State sports information department.

LOGAN, Utah - Five days removed from the four-month anniversary of her open-heart surgery, Anne-Marie Torp, from Louisville, Colo., is well on her way to returning to action for Utah State's women's basketball team this year.

Torp, who underwent open-heart surgery on May 10, 2005, was given the green light by her doctors to resume full participation in mid-August.

"I know that I'm not going to be coming out and playing 40 minutes a game," Torp said. "This year is going to be more about building up my strength and getting back into the groove of things."

Torp's bumpy road started last November as an annual bout with migraines turned into something much more serious as she suffered a mild stroke. Following countless hours of doctor's visits and mounting frustration, MRIs unveiled the stroke and a hole in her heart.

"The [news about the] stroke was pretty traumatic," Torp recalled in an interview in January 2004. "My mom was hysterical with the news, but I kind of just shook it off. When I heard about the hole though, I thought I was going to have to have open-heart surgery. Ten years ago if I would have had this problem I would have had to have open-heart surgery, but with the technology these days they just go through an artery in your leg."

Unbeknownst to Torp or anyone else at the time, her fear of having to undergo open-heart surgery would come to fruition. Following complications with the first surgery, more tests were conducted, revealing a second hole in her heart.

"The doctors actually plugged up the wrong hole when they went in the first time," Torp said. The device they put in was supposed to go in the other hole, which we thought was the only hole at the time. Open heart [surgery] became necessary in order to remove the initial device and to shore up both holes properly."

With the initial surgery taking place in Denver, Torp and her family now looked to the experts at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Minn.    

"When I kept having problems we went to the Mayo Clinic and they discovered that the wrong device had been put in the wrong hole and that there were now two holes causing all the problems," Torp said.

The surgery was successful and Torp was released from the hospital after an eight-day stay.

"The doctors said everything went well, but it was a miserable month and a half before I really starting feeling well," Torp said.

The first real physical activity Torp was able to do came two months after the surgery as she began to walk on the treadmill.

"I couldn't even stand up for long periods of time, so being able to walk on the treadmill was a big step," Torp said.

Just as the road to full recovery seemed to get smooth, Torp hit another big bump in the road. Towards the end of June her lung collapsed making it necessary for a chest tube to be inserted to drain her lung.

"I had to go back for another week in the hospital," Torp said of the setback. "They inserted the tube in the same incision and I had to keep it there for the entire week. The chest tube was not comfortable at all. They put me out before the procedure, but they can't really do anything once that wears off."

Torp was once again back at square one.

"I had to go back to where I couldn't lift anything and pretty much had to sit around for three weeks before they let me get back on the treadmill again," Torp said.

Things have been slow and steady ever since. She is now conditioning and playing pick-up games with the other members of the team. Besides knowing how much her body can take, Torp also has to wear a hard, plastic vest to protect her ribs.

"The vest helps a lot," Torp said. "I can tell a big difference when I'm not wearing it."

Head Coach Raegan Pebley is excited to have Torp back with the team, but wants her to know her limits.

"It is awesome to have her back out on the court," Pebley said. "Not only because I know what she has gone through to get back, but also for all she adds to our team. We are taking it one day at a time and step-by-step. We have to put a lot of trust in her to know how much she can take."

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