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Oviedo coach Tom Hammontree has heart transplant surgery

Joe Williams | Orlando Sentinel Varsity

2:54 PM PST, January 11, 2013

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Oviedo cross country and track coach Tom Hammontree, 68, underwent successful heart transplant surgery Thursday night at Florida Hospital-Orlando, according to his wife, Jane Hammontree.

“He is recovering as expected,” Jane said. “He is in ICU, but that is to be expected. They just removed the ventilator [Friday afternoon], less than 24 hours after the surgery. We are expecting a full recovery.”

Hammontree had been suffering from idiopathic cardiomyopathy. He said this fall that the left chamber, which pumps the blood, was functioning at only 15 percent capacity. The right chamber was being taxed because it had to compensate.

The condition had been worsening and Hammontree wore a device that continually pumped medicine into his heart to keep it pumping.

Coincidentally, Tom was inducted into the Florida Track and Field Hall of Fame during ceremonies Friday afternoon in Daytona Beach. John Hammontree, Tom's twin brother, stood in for him.

John Hammontree, his twin brother, represented him during induction ceremonies for the Florida Track Hall of Fame in Daytona Beach Friday.

"I am ecstatic," John said about the encouraging news of the surgery. "From what I heard, they put the heart in and it started beating right away.

"All the coaches up here, because there is also an FACA coaches clinic going on, are all asking about him."

Hammontree is expected to be in the hospital for a week to 10 days if everything goes well and they may start getting him up to move around by Saturday afternoon, his wife said.

Joe Williams is a senior sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel. You can contact him at jwilliams@orlandosentinel.com