Treadmill Runner Survives Heart Attack Thanks to Vigilance of Fellow Gym Patrons

While many Americans are just starting new workout plans over the next few weeks as New Year’s resolutions begin to kick in, one West Fargo, N.D., man’s workout regimen nearly ended for good on Jan. 12.

Justin Gress, who frequently runs at Snap Fitness in West Fargo, had been running on a treadmill for almost an hour when he suffered a sudden heart attack and collapsed, according to the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Fortunately for Gress, two women who were also working out at the time — Jill Weisenberger and Joy Loiseau — sprang into action.

Realizing that Gress did not have a pulse, the Forum reports that Weisenberger and Loiseau took turns performing chest compressions and administering CPR to keep Gress alive while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. 

“What happened to me — they call it a widow maker — the chances of making it are so slim,” Gress told the Forum after the incident. “I was clinically dead for 10 minutes.”

Still, while his workout that day may have triggered the heart attack, Gress’ doctors also believe consistent running had made his heart stronger, helping him to survive the attack.

Now, nearly two weeks out from his near-death experience, Gress is at home recovering and hopes to begin rehab soon before he returns to his workouts on the treadmill once again.

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