LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey recently opened up about a potentially life-saving heart procedure she underwent just months after the Tigers claimed their first-ever national championship, and she hopes her story will encourage others to pay attention to their health.
Mulkey, who led the Tigers to the title in her second season at LSU, revealed she had two stents placed into a coronary artery that was 95-99% blocked in June, according to ESPN.
Head coach Kim Mulkey and players from the LSU Lady Tigers react after Jasmine Carson makes a 3-point basket to end the second quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes diuring the 2023 NCAA women's championship game at American Airlines Center April 2, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
"I never even felt bad," she said, via ESPN. "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."
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"I've had some of my former teammates tell me, 'We're going to do it.' That's why I share these things," Mulkey continued. "I'm an open book if it's something that can help people. It's just a great lesson for all of us who think that it won't happen to us."
The three-time AP College Basketball Coach of the Year revealed she had no symptoms, but a tingling sensation in the tip of one of her fingers led to a doctor's appointment where she asked to have a separate test done on her neck to check up on a surgery she had had in 2018.
Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers during the third quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies during a 2023 NCAA Women's Final Four game at American Airlines Center March 31, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to the report, the test results were negative but did show that she had plaque on her carotid arteries.
"The issue with my heart, it was really just luck that we found it. So, I will keep telling people, 'Get yourself checked out. You have nothing to lose, and it could save your life.'"
Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers speaks during a press conference after the LSU Lady Tigers beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 in the 2023 NCAA women's championship game at American Airlines Center April 2, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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Earlier this month, Mulkey and LSU agreed to a 10-year $32 million contract. The deal makes hers the richest contract for a coach in women’s college basketball history.
Mulkey has won four national championships, including three from her time at Baylor. She enters the new season with a 50-8 record in two seasons at LSU.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.