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Virginia basketball player Marquis Poole back on court after heart transplant surgery

A varsity basketball player for a Virginia high school has made a remarkable return to the court just months after undergoing a heart transplant, and claims to feel completely ship shape while on the court.

As reported by the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va., Tabb senior Marquis Poole capped a remarkable comeback story, dating to seventh grade, when he trotted on to the court in his school’s self-hosted holiday tournament. He played just 40 seconds in his first-ever high school game, then returned to action the following evening and connected on a three-pointer on his first high school attempt.

The points and game-time were nice. That Poole was even alive was better. In 2011, Poole was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Disease, a condition marked by an extra electrical pathway between the heart’s upper and lower chambers. The condition traditionally causes a rapid heartbeat, which can lead to irregularities, heart attacks and can even kill a patient suffering from the condition.

It almost killed Poole. He suffered a heart attack. He was forced to install a pacemaker-defibrilator in his hart. And, finally, in October he underwent heart transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. Incredibly, the operation was a near-complete success — Poole’s mother says he has had only very minor side effects related to medication he takes for his new organ — and less than three months later he was back on the court in a game against Gloucester.

The miraculous recovery hasn’t been lost on Poole’s family or his coach, whom the Daily Press said was nearly as excited to insert Poole in his first game.

“I’ve been touched at the beginning and now the end of my career by transplant recipients,” Tabb coach Doug Baggett told the Daily Press. “Just to see Marquis come to practice and jog up and down the court with a smile on his face is one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had.

“I tell him this is just the start, that his healthiest years are ahead.”

Baggett may well be right. For now, both he and Poole are happy to celebrate the days he has now.