DEMOREST, Ga. – Patients in the Habersham Medical Center Cardiac Rehabilitation program hope to once again bring home the gold from the World Heart Games.

The Games, sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), will be held May 17 and 18 at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. Thirteen Habersham Medical Center Cardiac Rehab athletes will compete in basketball; bocce; bowling; game of knowledge; golf putting; prediction walk, jogging, recumbent bike, rowing and swimming; table tennis and volleyball.

“The World Heart Games helps patients at high risk for or with diagnoses of cardiovascular disease reclaim the joy of sports,” says Dr. F. Stuart Sanders, chairman of the ACSM World Heart Games and medical director of the Habersham Medical Center Cardiac Rehab program. “The games are a two-day Olympic-style competition and each sporting event is consistent with the patients’ health status and capabilities. Habersham Medical Center’s Constance Thieme, RN also serves on the ACSM World Heart Games committee.”

“Our volleyball team is hoping to defend their title,” adds Lisa Reiss, RN and coordinator of the Habersham Medical Center Cardiac Rehab program. “The team has won many gold medals at the Georgia “Heart of Gold” Games and won first place twice in the International Heart and Lung games.”

The Habersham Medical Center cardiac rehab volleyball team consists of 13 patients, ranging in age from 60 to 85, who practice twice a week. “The Habersham Medical Center Cardiac Rehab program has had a volleyball team for more than 20 years,” says Sanders. “It started as an alternative way for our heart patients to get additional exercise in order to transform their health. Many of them have also formed lasting friendships and love the spirit of competition. They have been working hard to prepare for the Games and are proud to represent our community.”

Opening ceremonies for the World Heart Games will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17. Each competition is open to the public and there is no admission charge. For more information, call (706) 754-3113, ext. 2455 or visit