Abstract

At age thirty-eight, Colorado professor Conrad Cotter, who led a sedentary lifestyle, suffered two heart attacks. Despite his family history of heart disease, he recuperated by quitting smoking, reducing his weight, relocating to a sea-level city, and exercising regularly. Curiously, he adopted powerlifting, an activity suspected of unduly straining the heart, for rehabilitation. After participating in it for a decade, he was not only stronger and breaking numerous age-group records but seemingly healthier. Cotter's fortunes changed when he retired from competition in the early 1980s, assumed stressful administrative responsibilities, and returned to a sedentary lifestyle. Confronted with multiple major crises stemming from his role as president of the United States Powerlifting Federation, including its break-up into several federations, a ruinous lawsuit, and finally loss of his livelihood, Cotter seemed ill-prepared to cope with them. It was mainly stress that led to his demise from a heart attack in 1990 at sixty-two.

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