Ref returns to field after heart transplant

Ref returns to field after heart attack

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- "Don't get noticed."

That's what Brian Wade says is one of the keys to being a good high school football referee.
 
A long time ref, Wade had to leave the field in 2013 because of health complications. Doctors said he had an enlarged heart, and would need a transplant to get better again.
 
"I waited 16 months," Wade said. "On February 14, Valentine's Day, at about quarter of nine, I got the call to get ready to go to Boston."
 
A new heart was available. It came from a 42-year-old Massachusetts man named Manny Lopes, who was described in his obituary as an avid sports fan.
 
Wade's surgery was a success, and he's not taking the Lopes family's donation for granted. After a year and a half of rehab and exercise and four years away from the field, Wade is back to helping kids get in the game.
 
"I'm always going to be protective of him, but I want him to be happy and I want him to do what he loves to do, and he loves to ref football," says Wade's wife, Celeste.
 
No longer sidelined, Wade is back to doing what he loves with a new heart, but the same passion for helping Maine kids.
 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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