Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alberto Salazar Survives Heart Attack Scare

"I found a guy laying on the ground and not doing well," Barahona said. "He was blue. He was trying to breathe, but he wasn't breathing effectively. I rolled him over and checked for his pulse. He didn't have a pulse."

If you have not heard by now, former running great Alberto Salzar suffered a heart attack on June 30th. Still lean and fit running about 30 miles a week at 48 years of age, it would seem highly unlikely that he could have heart disesae.

This is not the first time that Alberto has experienced a life-threatening problem. Back in 1978, he collapsed at the finish line of the Falmouth Road Race with a core body temperature measured at 107 degrees F and given last rites. In 1982 was the "Dual in the Sun" with Dick Beardsley at the Boston Marathon. He edged Beardlsey for the win, but was taken to the hosptial immediately following the race for 6 liters of intraveneously fluid. Alberto is now a successful distance running coach heading up the NIKE Oregon Project in Portland.

We do not know about other coronary risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, but certainly he did not smoke. He probably could be classified as a Type A personality, but most significant is the fact that both grandfathers had heart disease. Sometimes that is all it takes.

Thankfully, and lucky for Alberto, he survived again, but not without help. A local ER physician along with a former combat medic were able to perform CPR until the EMTs arrived, who jolted Salazar 4 times with a defibrillator before establishing a normal heart beat.

He was back coaching 9 days later.

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