Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Lucky to be alive - Campbell reflects after second heart scare

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2020 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Retired Jamaican distance runner Kemoy Campbell is today thankful after suffering another heart scare, just over a year after passing out while competing in New York.

Campbell began to pass out while driving in Miami on Tuesday, before his heart was shocked back into rhythm by the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) that he had embedded, after his heart stopped functioning while he participated in a 3000m event at the Millrose Games.

An ICD is a device that detects any life-threatening, abnormal heartbeat. This abnormal heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. If it occurs, the ICD quickly sends an electrical shock to the heart. The shock changes the rhythm back to normal.

“It is traumatic because the last time when this happened to me, I was out and so I didn’t really know what was going on,” Campbell told The Sunday Gleaner. “But the worst thing about this one is that I wasn’t exercising. I was just there sitting driving and then it happeneds so I think that is the most traumatising thing for me.”

The 29-year-old underwent surgery on Friday to replace that ICD with another that also works as a pacemaker, which will essentially help his heart to beat faster and allow him to receive medication for his arrhythmia condition.

“It doesn’t really affect me as much as it might affect the people around me. It is your family members that are affected when they realised what had happened and it could possible happened again,” Campbell said.


Campbell, who is the holder of the national records in the 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m, underlines that his recovery process is going to be a very long and expensive one and so a GoFundMe account has been established to assist him with his medical expenses.

“Right now, I am just taking it a day at time because, right now, I am trying to recover from the surgery that I had to put this thing in, but at the end of the day, it is still in the back of my head that this can happen again,” said Campbell.

“Right now, I am not sure how much they are going to charge me for the hospital stay and the doctors’ payments because I was there for a short period of time which is good compared to the 17 days when I was in the hospital in New York,” he said.

“The health insurance that I have doesn’t cover most of that, and so I am not sure how much money exactly I will need in the GoFundMe to help me out, but at the end of the day, I am definitely going to need some help because it is going to be difficult for me alone to just pay off,” Campbell stated.

The former Bellefield High School star noted that the doctors are hoping that the new ICD will prevent a recurrence but have ordered him to stay away from driving for a while.