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Narveson takes a break from coaching after surgery

Cross-country coaches Mike Moran (left) and Brad Narveson talk to students during a track and field meeting in 2014. Narveson needed to take this fall off from cross-country coaching with Moran after undergoing surgery. File photo

Park cross-country and track and field coach Brad Narveson has been working with Wolfpack runners for more than a decade.

But after undergoing heart surgery in late August, he will not have the chance to coach cross-country this fall. Instead, he will spend the next few months recovering.

Narveson first learned in June that he would need an operation on his heart to fix an aneurysm in his ascending aorta. But when doctors were running tests on his heart leading up to the surgery, they discovered another surprise. One of his arteries, the left anterior descending, had significant blockage of 70 to 90 percent.

With the surgery now completed, Narveson will spend the next few months recovering.

"We did that last Sunday," Narveson said in a phone interview Sept. 6. "I'm just fortunate I've been going in and getting these checkups over the last seven years."

Seven years ago, his mother Karen Narveson passed away suddenly. The autopsy revealed some issues with her heart. The discovery had motivated Narveson to get his heart checked out on a regular basis.

"I'm fortunate that I'm able to do that, and they found this before something bad happened," Narveson said. "And they were able to do something about that."

Narveson is a teacher at Middleton Elementary in Woodbury, and he is scheduled to go back to work in early December. During the first few months of recovery, he is limited in how much he can lift, which means he must take a break from strenuous exercise. Before the surgery, Narveson was an avid biker and runner who occasionally ran road races.

"I try to be an active guy, which I think will help me in my recovery," Narveson said.

Doctors have told Narveson he will make a full recovery from the surgery. He plans to build his way back to the old exercise habits that he had previously.

"When I met with the surgeon, it sounded like I would make a full recovery and be back being as active as I ever was," Narveson said. "That's the plan right now."

Narveson started the fall season coaching with the Park cross-country team before he was forced to stop due to the surgery. He said the conversation with the team, letting them know he would be out for the rest of the season, was not easy.

"That was a hard conversation to have with the kids," Narveson said. "I started the season for a couple of weeks, I told some of the seniors what was going on, but I wasn't sure when the surgery would be."

Eventually, Narveson let the team know about his upcoming surgery at a team practice before later sending an email to parents.

Coach Mike Moran has worked with Narveson for more than a decade on the track and field team and at least seven years in cross-country. The two coaches worked with Moran's son and daughter before they graduated from Park three and four years ago, and telling them Narveson was not available to coach this fall brought some puzzled looks.

"You tell them Narv is not there and they go, 'Huh?' Because Narv was there through their whole careers," Moran said. "Narv is institutional. We'll miss him. Hopefully, he'll be OK for track."

Bay Shock, who is also a Park girls golf coach, is filling in as a cross-country coach while he is out.

Since the surgery, Narveson has been thankful for the support he has received from the community. People have reached out since the surgery through email, phone calls, messages on CaringBridge and social media, and some have even helped out by delivering meals to his sister's and brother-in-law's house where he is staying.

"It's pretty overwhelming all the support that is out there," Narveson said.