Kootenay beach volleyball coach Sam Scott’s world changed in an instant while training in Brazil.
After completing a year of studying welding at the College Of The Rockies, Scott felt that he needed to get away. In January, 2011, Scott and a friend headed off to Rio De Janeiro to participate in a volunteer beach volleyball coaching program.
Shortly after arriving, Scott got to watch the Brazilian national beach volleyball team play live. Afterwards, Scott and his friend would see players from the team training on the beach and on occasion, trained with them.
With two weeks left on his trip, Scott decided to go surfing. Later that evening Scott got extremely sick. He spent the next two days and nights lying on the hostel couch. Eventually, the woman who ran the hostel forced him to go to the hospital.
An x-ray revealed that Scott had what looked like a hole in his lungs. However, even though Scott knew some Portuguese, the language barrier posed a problem, as he could not understand the explanation of what was wrong with him.
Hospital staff finally found someone who spoke English who told Scott he had a cyst on his lung, which had been there years, caused by a worm he got in Canada. The cyst ruptured when Scott was hit hard by a big wave.
Scott’s parents flew down to Brazil to be with their son. Scott went into surgery and had a lobe of his lung removed.
“There was no one speaking English the whole time in the hospital,” said Scott. “The ways you learn to communicate was interesting. The hand motions and the three or four hospital type words that you pick up.”
So far the prognosis looks goods for Scott.
“I have an empty cavity and the rest of the lung has expanded and filled the cavity. Within a couple of years my lung capacity will be back to normal.”
Because of the cyst, Scott’s lung was not working right for years. He should be better off than when he had the cyst, said Scott.
“That year, I was really hoping to improve my volleyball game. I planned to play in a tournament every weekend. It was going to be my first big year,” said Scott. “You know at any instant, everything can change.”
Scott will be coaching four teams in total from the Kootenays including James Johnston and Blake Peebles of Sparwood.
Scott said he absolutely loves volleyball, especially the challenge of playing in sand.
“Moving is harder. You can’t jump as high or hit as hard. With only two players on the court, placement is important,” said Scott, adding that there is more thinking involved in beach volleyball than regular volleyball.
Scott has thrown himself back into volleyball full time. During the summer he is coaching and training during the week and playing every weekend.
“While your health is good you have to take advantage of it.”