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Sam's recovery is going well after scary turn

Tim Sam is finally home after a scary turn of events that landed the North Medford athletic director in the hospital for nine days.

Sam suffered a perforation of the colon and had emergency surgery on May 6 at Rogue Valley Medical Center after a whirlwind turn of events that found him going from girls golf coach to hospital patient within hours that fateful Tuesday.

When reached at home Monday, Sam said he's happy that the worst appears to be over now.

"So far, so good," said Sam, 44. "I'm just taking little steps in positive directions every day."

Sam was released from RVMC last Thursday, and said his doctor's orders are to have him home for a "couple more weeks and then we'll go from there."

After eight days of only being administered intravenous fluids, Sam said his body is just getting used to food again. He's also just getting around to walking again.

And although the afternoon fare on TV isn't the best, Sam said he's trying to do some reading here and there and is still in touch with North athletics secretary Julie Strange on matters that have come up involving questions on procedures and the like.

It was Strange and North Medford High Assistant Principal Linda Bradshaw who actually came to Sam's aid when he needed it most.

Sam had begun feeling ill the week prior to the girls golf district tournament in Roseburg, but figured it was probably the flu. He went to see a doctor on May 2 and was told he probably had diverticulitis, a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine.

Sam said he felt pretty good leading up to the morning of May 5, but then his situation worsened as he rode in the van to Roseburg.

"I kinda got a little cold sweat going with some pain in the stomach and I didn't know what it was about," he said.

He oversaw the Black Tornado girls golf team make it through the first day of the district tournament in fine fashion, but later suffered a restless night.

"I was in so much pain I didn't sleep at all that night," said Sam.

He called Strange and Bradshaw in the early morning hours of May 6 to try to organize a way to get someone to drive the van — and the girls team — back later that day.

They did him one better.

"They had the foresight not only to get somebody up there to bring the van back," said Sam, "but to bring me back as well and get me to the hospital."

Sam said Bradshaw picked him up at the Roseburg Country Club around 11 a.m. and took him straight to RVMC, where he was admitted at 1 p.m. and had emergency surgery to remove a section of his colon at 5:30 p.m.

"They took great care of me," he said, noting something like this had never been an issue in his life.

"Now it's just a matter of getting better and when I will be back," added a grateful Sam.


MIKE SODERLUND WILL BE recognized this Saturday as co-official of the year by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association.

The award is the second for Soderlund, who is in his 34th year as an official here in the Rogue Valley.

Only two years ago, the Medford resident was named the state basketball official of the year by the National Federation of High School Officials Association.

"It's truly a great honor to be chosen by that group of individuals because they are probably the toughest critics of your work in that profession," Soderlund, 52, said of the coaches' award.

Soderlund just finished his 34th year in basketball and 32nd in football, and doesn't plan on stepping aside anytime soon.

"They build up pretty quick, but it's been very fulfilling for me," he said of his years as an official. "I would not have given it up for anything."

Soderlund will receive his award during a gathering at the Len Casanova Center in Eugene, where coaches of the year in their respective sports will also be honored.

"For an official, it would seem to be a hostile environment, which makes it all that more fun," he said with a laugh. "Everyone will be wearing suits, so I'm sure they'll all be on their best behavior."

Soderlund, who manages the White City Grange Co-op, has been a member of the Rogue Valley Officials Association in football and basketball since the beginning. His dad, Loren, was a referee for 35 years, and Soderlund credits him and a handful of other mentors over the years for laying the foundation for his career as an official.