Cardiac Arrest on the Racquetball Court

Mark Nelson

Life Time Austin-South, TX | Member Since 2016

“The staff at Life Time being trained to handle medical emergencies proved to be the deciding factor if I would live or not.”

I joined Life Time Spring of 2016 to both get back in shape and to lose a few pounds. I started with the treadmill and a trainer helped me navigate a starter weight strengthening program. That May I was talking to a friend about wanting to get back into playing racquetball. (Something I had not done in 15 years)  My friend said he wanted to play as well and said his gym had courts. I said so does mine....We then realized we were both members of South Austin Life Time Fitness. We had played a couple of times in May, then scheduled another on May 31st of 2016. We had been playing for about 40 minutes when suddenly I felt extremely dizzy. I remember the feeling of losing my balance, then everything went dark. After slumping to the floor, my friend immediately called for help. My heart had stopped.  Andrew, Adam and Jen came rushing in and Andrew immediately started CPR. It turns out that the staff at Life Time being trained to handle medical emergencies proved to be the deciding factor if I would live or not. The team used a defibrillator to shock my heart back to beating and by the time 911 got to the court, my heart was beating again. I woke up in the hospital and after having 3 stents put in and a couple of days in the Critical Care Unit, I was released to go home. The entire time I was in the hospital, every Doctor and every Nurse I saw said the same thing, "It's a true miracle that you are here". The first couple of times I thought, okay they probably say that to most patients to make them feel better, but EVERY person I saw said the same thing. They explained that with the condition I had, fewer than 5% ever make it either to or out of the hospital AND that if I would have had this happen to me virtually anywhere else, I would not be here today.

After a few months of cardiac re-hab, I was ready to get back to Life Time, now more committed than ever to keep exercising. I started on the treadmill, worked with David, a trainer and now am back on the same racquetball court playing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Andrew, Adam, Jen and Life Time Fitness for giving me the gift of life.

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