ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -Prized Minnesota football recruit Sam Maresh underwent open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Thursday.
Doctors deemed the procedure, which replaced a valve in Maresh's heart, a success. The procedure was performed by Dr. Hartzell Schaff, the same physician who operated on former Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg three years ago.
``We want to thank all of the wonderful people who have expressed their best wishes to our family,'' Bill Maresh, Sam's father, said in a statement issued by the university. ``Our close family has grown even closer during the difficult time. In fact, because of the tremendous outpouring of support, it feels that our family has not only grown closer, but it has grown in number.''
Maresh was born with an abnormal aortic valve, which prevents his heart from pumping blood efficiently. The standout middle linebacker from Champlin Park High School in suburban Minneapolis didn't discover the condition until taking a routine physical that Minnesota requires of all incoming athletes.
Maresh is part of a highly touted 2008 recruiting class by coach Tim Brewster. Hoiberg never played basketball again after needing a pacemaker installed following a complication from the procedure.
It is unknown whether Maresh will be able to play football again, but that's not a priority at this point, Brewster said.
``I've said from the beginning that it was a tremendous blessing for Sam and his family that this problem was found when it was,'' Brewster said in a statement. ``Today, to have the problem corrected in a very successful manner is an even greater blessing for them. I'm sure this has been an amazing day for the Maresh family.''
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