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Stroke victim happy to return to tennis at H-F racquet club

Gregory Moore has a 45-year attachment to the game of tennis. After he suffered a stroke, he was down but refused to be counted out.

Moore, of Homewood, remembers being on the tennis courts at the Homewood-Flossmoor Racquet and Fitness Club in February. He stepped back to reach the ball for a return. He remembers his partner telling him it was a great shot.

Before the game, he felt tired, but after that return “I was feeling like a winner and all of the sudden it felt like someone took a baseball bat and hit me in the left side of my back and I went down,” Moore remembers. “And first I thought, did someone hit me with a tennis ball? When I tried to get up, it went off again.”

His friends called for the paramedics, and Moore was rushed to South Suburban Hospital. Moore already had a heart pacemaker because of a low heartbeat, but paramedics told him that day his heart rate was over 200 beats a minute. The average should be 60 to 100 beats per minute.

After extensive testing, doctors told Moore he’d suffered a stroke during that incident and he needed a defibrillator inserted to help the pacemaker regulate his heart rate.

Moore spent several weeks in physical therapy and some additional time for recuperation. When he asked if he could play tennis again, the doctors said yes, and he was back on the racquet club courts. He plays doubles with rotating partners.

Moore started playing tennis through the Chicago Park District, and he was part of the tennis program at Kennedy-King College. He had just marked his 20th anniversary of play at the H-F racquet club before his stroke. He is a member of “Sets in the City” organized group play.

“I love tennis. I love playing, and just having a nice time,” Moore said. “At the time I was slowing down, (with play) just 3 or 4 times a week. It’s good seeing all the guys and gals. It’s a kind of fellowship. That was the whole thing. Tennis is good, but tennis was my way of getting into relationships with other people. You get to meet folks.”

Now under a doctor’s care, Moore is on the court about an hour twice a week. In addition, he walks in the morning and in the evening. He sends his doctors his blood pressure number in the morning and his heart rate number after every tennis session.

“Doctors told me they want me to play,” Moore said. “They don’t have a problem with me playing but just limit it. I keep track of my numbers; so far, so good.”

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