Wide receiver Hooks returns after heart tests show nothing unusual

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Monday, October 2, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – University of Washington wideout Wilbur Hooks got the OK to resume workouts this week, after tests revealed his heart irregularities are nothing serious.

Hooks began practice Monday and is scheduled to play Saturday night against Oregon State.

Hooks missed the game at Oregon and two weeks’ worth of practices while specialists tried to find the reason behind his heart condition. During a film session and practice the Monday following Washington’s 17-14 victory over Colorado, Hooks noticed his heart rate increased, then quickly slowed.

The condition had shown itself on a couple of occasions. Both times, EKG tests revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

“It usually happens when I’m under some type of anxiety, when something exciting happens, good or bad,” Hooks said. “It happened to me after one of my state championships in track. Then it happened last year at Evergreen (State College). It was before our first scrimmage, and I was excited about it. I felt the fast heart rate and all of a sudden I felt kind of weak and light-headed.”

The latest episode happened when Hooks was nervous that the film of the Colorado game would reveal a poor performance. He underwent a battery of tests, including one in which physicians inserted two needles into each side of his groin, and ran them up to his heart to test its structure and action.

Hooks’ parents even traveled from their home in Alaska for tests, to determine whether the condition was hereditary.

Specialists determined that Hooks’ heart had, in layman’s terms, a “short circuit” in its electrical impulses. The condition is considered neither life-threatening nor career-threatening.

Still, for a while specialists simply didn’t know what was wrong, which was worrisome.

“They were kind of worried about something, because they saw something that shouldn’t have been there,” Hooks said. “After another four or five tests, it didn’t show up. That’s what made everything kind of iffy.”

Green light attained, Hooks said he’s more than ready to play.

“I’ve always said I’ve appreciated what I’ve been given,” Hooks said. “Now I appreciate it that much more. I’m very excited to get back. You realize you only have a certain number of chances.”

  • Running game solution, maybe: Coach Rick Neuheisel said the Huskies might alter their four-tailback rotation, paring it down to a combination of Paul Arnold and true freshman Rich Alexis. That would mean the odd men out are Braxton Cleman and Willie Hurst.

    Neuheisel said he wants to use the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Alexis because of his size and explosiveness as an inside runner.

    “I would like to get a bigger player into the game,” Neuheisel said. “I just think that Rich will give us some sledgehammer-type yards that maybe we were missing with the departure of Mo Shaw.”

  • Too nice: While the emphasis in the Oregon game was how much hatred there was between the teams, UW defensive tackle Larry Tripplett said the majority of the trash talking came from the Ducks’ receivers and backs.

    “The offensive line, they were polite, man,” Tripplett said. “They were double-teaming me, holding my jersey and everything. They were saying, ‘Look 70, you’re a big guy. I got to hold you.’ I’m like, ‘No! No! I’m not going to sit here and take this!’ I mean, either talk trash or don’t say anything at all.”

  • Short routes: Reserve tight end Kevin Ware sprained an ankle against Oregon and will be out two weeks. Joe Collier will back up Jerramy Stevens … Now that the Olympic Games are done, Neuheisel said he will sit down with would-be wideout Ja’Warren Hooker and discuss whether the track star/receiver wants to come back to the team. Hooker was a backup athlete on the relay teams in Sydney, but did not participate.

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