Clemson President Jim Barker starting rehab following heart surgery

'The doctors are pleased with my progress, but they advise it will take some time to heal'

Clemson President Jim Barker representing the Clemson Free Clinic practices rowing his boat at Hartwell Lake in Clemson for the 'Team up for Clemson' regatta in October.

Mark Crammer Independent Mail

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson President Jim Barker representing the Clemson Free Clinic practices rowing his boat at Hartwell Lake in Clemson for the 'Team up for Clemson' regatta in October. Mark Crammer Independent Mail

— Clemson University President Jim Barker has began the rehabilitation process after his heart surgery on Friday.

In a message Monday to the university community, Barker said he was able to walk a lap Sunday around an intensive care unit at Greenville Memorial Hospital. He also said he would be moving to a private room at the hospital.

"I plan to do more walking in the coronary care unit," Barker said in his message. "The doctors are pleased with my progress, but they advise it will take some time to heal. I am beginning my rehab work, and I plan to give it my best."

A blockage was discovered during a heart catheterization that Barker underwent on Thursday. Five bypasses were made during a surgery that was performed the next day. Surgeons said the procedure on the 65-year-old Barker went well.

In his message Monday, Barker said he has received outstanding care at the hospital's cardiovascular intensive care unit.

"We have been impressed by the professionalism and compassion of the medical providers here," Barker said.

University Provost Dori Helms has assumed Barker's duties at the university while he recovers.

Barker thanked the university community for the concern that has been expressed about his condition.

"The well wishes, prayers and encouragement mean everything to us," he said. "I am looking forward to returning to Tiger Town."

In the meantime, Barker said, his dogs Mac's and Mookie "are holding down the fort at the President's Home."

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