Heart Attack on the Race Course...
Some of you may remember because you were there, others may have read it here after the fact - during the June 2012 Ontario Criterium, start times for races in the late morning and in the afternoon were pushed back. I had heard rumors of a heart attack during one of the early races but never any official confirmation. Well, last week I received an email from a racer who was able to confirm the rumor, and thanked me for my concern.
As it turned out that racer, Hugh Lothrop, did in fact suffer a heart attack during the Masters 55/60+ race and provided me with a little information about what happened. Mr. Lothrop related that after the first few laps he began to experience a burning pain in his chest, but shrugged it off, as most of us would, to a simple case of heart burn. He drank a little water and continued on. The pain persisted though, and in fact became more intense. He dropped back to the USAC official following the peloton on motorcycle and informed him of the pain he was experiencing. This was on the back side of the course. The official suggested he attempt to continue around to the start / finish were the first aid tent was located. He did not make it that far, collapsing unconscious within sight of the tent. Rushed to nearby San Antonio Hospital Mr. Lothrop underwent surgery for a completely blocked coronary artery.
But, this is a cautionary story, rather than one of woe. Within four weeks after the heart attack Hugh Lothrop was back running stairs, continued to improve and grow stronger, and has already raced twice this new season.
In a follow-up to his initial email, I asked him if he would be willing to relate a little more about what happened, whether there were any warning signs, and about his recovery and progress over the past seven or so months. The following is his response which I am sharing verbatim: