Sam Maresh talks about his comeback

Sam Maresh, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker from Champlin Park, underwent open heart surgery on June 26 after a doctor discovered a congenital heart defect, an aortic valve with a serious leak and an enlarged ventricle. Maresh was considered one of the Gophers' top signees and a potential freshman starter. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Maresh after Saturday's win to learn the latest.

A heart murmur was discovered during a routine pre-participation physical on Sam Maresh at the University of Minnesota on June 2. Following additional diagnostic testing and examinations, Maresh was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and other related cardiac complications.

The consensus medical opinion recommended surgical intervention to replace or repair the abnormal valve. The surgery was performed by Dr. Hartzell Schaff.

Maresh was an all-state linebacker and two-time Northwest Suburban Conference Defensive Player of the Year for Champlin Park High School. He was one of six players named to the 2007 Minneapolis Star Tribune Super Preps team.

Maresh was also among the top prep wrestlers in the state during his high school career. He won three consecutive Minnesota Class AAA wrestling championships, winning the 215-pound weight class as a sophomore and taking the title at 285 pounds in his final two years of high school.

Maresh admitted that it was hard for a competitive player to be watching the Gophers play with him on the sideline.

"It's hard, but I want to just come here and see what they have done all summer. It paid off for them and they played hard," he said after Saturday's win. "They made some progress from last year to this year and that was good to see. I'm supporting them all way, if I am down on the field or not. It's hard, but I have to live with it."

Maresh is helping his alma mater Champlain Park this season. The Rebels lost to Coon Rapids 29-20 in their season opener.

"It was pretty close. Their offense really struggled a bit, which was a bit of a surprise," he said. "The defense was actually playing pretty well. They'll get better every game and they'll fix their mistakes. I think that everything will work out."

Maresh appeared in good condition and is looking forward to resuming physical activities.

"I'm in pretty good shape right now," he said. "I'm starting to work out and run and stuff like that. It feels good just to be active, just run around and life weights. It feels pretty good."

Much of the talk about Maresh had been that he would grayshirt this season and enroll at Minnesota in January. However, he told GoldenSports.Net that there could be a change in his plans.

"I've been talking to my parents and we are going to see. I might be able to redshirt. That means I'll start school Tuesday all ready. We have been talking about the possibility of me being a redshirt and with that comes with a lot of confidence that I will be able to play in the spring. It's kind of risky, but my parents and I feel that I'll be able to play in the spring," he said. "It will be a good thing to get out there and be with the team officially."

Maresh said that he stays in close contact with his doctors in Rochester about his heart condition.

"I am going in in a couple of weeks. They are going to run a stress test on me and see how I am doing and see what progress I am making," he said. "I stay in contact with them a lot. They are great doctors and they let me know everything."


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories