LSU basketball head coach Kim Mulkey underwent a potentially life-saving heart procedure in June.
Mulkey, 61, discovered the health issue by chance, she shared with ESPN ahead of the defending champion Tigers’ first practice of the 2023-24 season.
The tip of one of her fingers felt numb, prompting her to see a doctor. That first appointment eventually led to a surprising — and serious — diagnosis: One of Mulkey’s coronary arteries was almost completely blocked.
“I never even felt bad,” Mulkey said. “I’m still kind of in shock that we accidentally found this. So my message in sharing this is, if you’re over 50, go get a stress test.”
On June 28, she had two stents put in her artery to address the issue, and she is also on medication.
“I said, ‘Doc, why didn’t I feel bad in any way?’ He said, ‘You’re what’s called an asymptomatic patient. You’re the ones that can die suddenly and drive cardiologists crazy,'” Mulkey said. “I asked if I was likely to have had a heart attack without the procedure, and he said, ‘Yes, eventually’
“I said, ‘Will I feel any different now?’ and he said, ‘No, because you didn’t have symptoms.’ And I feel fine, just like I did before. But it’s really encouraged me to tell people that if you can, get your heart checked.”
The Tigers open their title defense against Colorado on Nov. 6, following two preseason exhibition games on Oct. 26 and Nov. 1. Expect Mulkey to be her usual animated self.
“The doctor smiled and said, ‘You get a little animated on the sideline. That’s our goal — for you to be you,'” she told the Times-Picayune in July. “It’s not going to slow me down.”