Campbell makes a heart-warming return to the football field

Published 2:22 pm Monday, August 4, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — A couple of years ago, Terence Campbell’s future at East Carolina looked bright.
As a red-shirt freshman in 2006, Campbell burst into the starting lineup at offensive tackle. He started 11 games at right tackle before shifting to the left side for the final two games after Eric Graham went down with a knee injury.
He recorded 47 knock downs and logged 880 snaps in his first season.
His stellar play drew the eye of coaches across Conference USA, as well as the national media, both of whom selected the 6’5” mountain of man to Conference USA’s All-Freshman Team.
He was a star in the making, a sure bet to be entrenched at the tackle slot at ECU for the next three years.
Then, all of a sudden, tragedy struck.
While going through offseason workouts on Feb. 26, 2007, Campbell began to feel queasy and there was a tightening sensation in his chest. He continued to push himself though, attributing the ill feeling to a cold that he’d been battling for weeks.
He spoke with trainer Mike Hanley later during the workout and informed him of what was going on. Hanley told him to go home and monitor the situation. If things worsened, they’d take action.
Hours later, Campbell’s chest palpations got stronger. His arms tingled. His side went numb.
Still more than a week from his 20th birthday, young Terence was having a heart attack.
That night, doctors performed an angiography to X-ray the heart.
Nevertheless, in the early morning hours of Feb. 27, 2007, Campbell underwent an emergency angioplasty to clear the blocked vessels.
Two days later, he was released from Pitt County Memorial Hospital, and a week after his near-death experience, Campbell was back on the Greenville campus attending class.
Campbell was glad to be back in the classroom, but he immediately turned his focus towards returning to the football field.
Running from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment became a way of life for the 300-plus-pound lineman.
While he was determined to strap on the helmet once again, doctors had a different opinion. They wanted to make sure Campbell was out of danger.
So for the next few months, Campbell underwent a plethora of tests. He passed all with flying colors, but a return to the football field was ruled out for the 2007 season.
Campbell’s clearance finally came this February, a couple weeks before the Pirates kicked off the spring football season.
On the final day of February, Campbell made his return to the practice field.
Since the incident, Campbell has undergone some huge changes in his life. Salads and fruits are an important part of his diet these days. Not greasy cheeseburgers and pizza.
Now 15 pounds lighter, at 6’5”, 320 pounds, Campbell is back in a purple and gold uniform. But there’s still work to do.
He’s currently listed as a reserve tackle behind senior Stanley Bryant on the Pirates’ preseason depth chart.
Coach Skip Holtz is certainly glad to see the big man back on the practice field.
Now, Campbell’s next big moment will come when he runs out of the tunnel at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte when ECU opens the season on Aug. 30 versus Virginia Tech.