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Pro Wrestler Adam Copeland Lends Muscle to Fight Against Heart Disease- NEW

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June 14, 2002

BY PATRICIA ANSTETT

FREE PRESS MEDICAL WRITER

His fans simply know him as Edge, the handsome hunk with attitude and shoulder-length blond hair.

But World Wrestling Entertainment star Adam Copeland, a college-educated nice guy with a broadcaster's voice, also is getting airtime for a national campaign to educate the public about angina, a type of heart disease.

Some six million Americans have angina, which can cause severe chest pain. Even watching an exciting sports event on TV can bring on symptoms, including sweating, breathing difficulties and nausea. Smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, stress and cold weather trigger symptoms.

The Get Tough on Angina campaign tag-teams WWE wrestlers Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Copeland, who came to Detroit on Thursday to promote events in Detroit and Ann Arbor with the Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Wrestling and heart disease are a natural fit, says Copeland, who has been sidelined for a month with a shoulder injury.

"We are athletes. We try to stay healthy. A lot of the steps we take now can be considered preventive if you want to avoid heart disease later on in your life."

Copeland exercises six days a week, alternating between low-impact cardiovascular fitness machines and precise body-toning workouts.

"Monday it's the chest. Tuesday, I do arms. Wednesday, I do legs. Then, depending on the schedule, it's a day on the shoulders and another on the back, and I start the whole routine over again. I give my body a day to recuperate."

He eats healthful foods like chicken breasts and egg white-only omelettes and isn't interested in taking steroid drugs to pump up his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame. "There's nobody who sits there and cracks the whip and says you need to do it this way. Anything we do is our choice."

Copeland grew up in Orangeville, Ontario, near Toronto, and got a degree in radio broadcasting from Humber College, also near Toronto.

The only son of a single mom who worked two jobs to help support him, Copeland is living out his boyhood dream of becoming a wrestler.

"I think she did an OK job. I'm not too odd, except for the fact that I jump around in tights for a living," he says.

He began serious training to be a wrestler when he was 16, got his first shot in a professional ring at 21 and was signed to a professional contract at 23.

These days, Tampa, Fla., is his home. He heads there most Thursdays and Fridays to spend time with his wife, Alanah, sister of wrestler Val Venus. Copeland's goal is a title shot later this year.

"People call me pretty boy, but I'm really not," he says. "It's just the hair. I'm anything but a pretty boy."

*Credit Detroit Free Press *