BELFAST — Longtime Belfast wrestling coach Ted Heroux is recuperating in a Bangor hospital after collapsing due to an apparent heart-related issue while coaching his team during a meet at the high school Monday.
Heroux was scheduled to receive a defibrillator implant at Eastern Maine Medical Center on Thursday, according to his son-in-law, Neal Wood, an assistant coach for the Lions who now is serving as the team’s interim head coach. A defibrillator implant is used for monitoring and regulating a person’s heartbeat.
“He should be home within a couple of days after that,” said Wood, “and then he’ll be a while recovering.”
Heroux, the first of just two wrestling coaches statewide with more than 500 career victories, was stricken while his team was hosting a five-team meet involving Camden Hills of Rockport, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield and Noble of North Berwick at the school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
He collapsed at approximately 11:30 a.m., and according to reports at the scene chest compressions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation were performed on Heroux and a defibrillator also was used before he was transported to the Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. School officials cancelled the remainder of the wrestling meet, as well as all other activities scheduled at the school that day.
“It was pretty scary,” said Belfast senior Jordan Young, who wrestles at 119 pounds for the Lions. “Everything went silent for a little bit. At first they were still wrestling on the other mat when it happened so we had to tell them to stop and then it quieted right down.”
Heroux subsequently was transferred to EMMC.
Belfast’s wrestling team, undefeated in dual-meet competition this winter and ranked fourth statewide in the latest Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance poll, resumed practicing Wednesday.
“They’ve have really been pretty good about everything, the guys know how he is and how we work,” said Wood. “They know he would expect them to stay on track and they have. We talked about it, and then they’ve gone right back at it.”
The Lions’ next meet is scheduled for Saturday at Skowhegan against Cony of Augusta, Oak Hill of Sabattus and the host Indians.
“Everybody’s been training hard since it happened,” said Young before Thursday’s practice. “Everybody’s been doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Heroux, a 1961 graduate of Crosby High School in Belfast, has guided the Lions to eight state championships during more than four decades as their head coach. He coached the team for 36 years before retiring in 2002, then returned to the post in 2006. Wood served as the team’s head coach during Heroux’s retirement.
Belfast has won state championships under Heroux’s leadership in 1969, 1970, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1995, 2008 and 2009.
He is a 1999 inductee into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame.