‘I don’t re­ally re­mem­ber any­thing’

Man who ‘died’ run­ning half-marathon plans to run it again

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

KENNETT SQUARE >> He didn’t see a bright light or pearly gates, but Shawn Stevens now knows he was clin­i­cally dead on the foot­ball field of Kennett High School last week af­ter com­plet­ing a 13.1-mile half­marathon.

“I don’t re­ally re­mem­ber any­thing,” said Stevens, 60, who lives in north Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware. “I re­mem­ber cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line, tak­ing two steps, and the next thing I re­mem­ber is that I was in the emer­gency room (at Ch­ester County Hospi­tal).”

Stevens went into car­diac ar­rest. Dr. Ricky Haug, the vol­un­teer lead on-site physi­cian, was im­me­di­ately at the scene. He was joined by an­other physi­cian, Re­becca Arm­bruster, who was help­ful check­ing pulses. Dr. Andy Kolb also be­gan giv­ing Stevens CPR. Haug said Stevens had no pulse and

“At some point, I see no rea­son not to get back into rac­ing. But I want to make sure the guy ahead of me and the guy be­hind me is a doc­tor, and there is an AED close by.”

— Shawn Stevens

wasn’t breath­ing.

When Haug took over, Stevens was ly­ing on the ground, mo­tion­less. Haug said he wasn’t breath­ing and had no pulse. CPR was per­formed, and an au­to­mated ex­ter­nal de­fib­ril­la­tor (AED) even­tu­ally helped to bring Stevens back to life.

Stevens said he was in top shape to run the race.

“I don’t con­sider my­self in the same class as other peo­ple,” he said. “I have run 10 or 12 half-marathons in my life, and run sev­eral 10Ks a year. I run sev­eral times a week, do­ing 5 or 6 miles at a time.”

But Stevens said it was an un­di­ag­nosed con­di­tion that ap­par­ently caused him to col­lapse. Nor­mally, the heart’s aor­tic valve has three flaps (leaflets) that reg­u­late blood flow by open­ing and clos­ing, al­low­ing blood to flow through­out the body. One of those valves failed to work prop­erly, Stevens said. He had surgery last week to cor­rect the con­di­tion. Doc­tors re­placed his aor­tic valve and said he has no signs of coro­nary artery dis­ease.

Stevens said that al­though his mother has choles­terol read­ings over 300 and his fa­ther suf­fers from high blood pres­sure, he has not had any med­i­cal problems and gets rou­tine an­nual phys­i­cal ex­ams.

“This is the first time I have been phys­i­cally in a hospi­tal in over 40 years,” he said.

Stevens said he was proud to fin­ish the half­marathon in un­der two hours at his age, and said he plans to con­tinue run­ning af­ter his re­hab, and af­ter his doc­tors clear him.

“At some point, I see no rea­son not to get back into rac­ing,” he said. “But I want to make sure the guy ahead of me and the guy be­hind me is a doc­tor, and there is an AED close by.”

Stevens, who is em­ployed in man­ag­ing po­si­tions with non­prof­its like the Amer­i­can Red Cross and the United Way, in­sists he did not push him­self dur­ing the Kennett Square Mush­room Cap Half Marathon.

“I re­ally wasn’t fa­tigued dur­ing the race,” he said. “I took wa­ter at the sta­tions, and I wasn’t scrap­ing the ground. The hills were chal­leng­ing. It was a good race.”

Stevens said he in­tends to reg­is­ter for next year’s Kennett Square half-marathon.

“This ended up to be a good story for me,” he said.


Shawn Stevens was pro­claimed clin­i­cally dead at the Kennett half-marathon, but was re­vived and plans to con­tinue run­ning.

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