, 2022-06-07 02:00:00,
JohnE McCray was dead for 4 minutes.
This Zephyrhills resident and professional disc golf champion was out on the course on Feb. 5, even doing well at the Barnett Park Championships, in Orlando, but was in pain.
“I was warming up and just got this intense pain in my left arm,” the 50-year-old said. “Which I thought was weird because I throw with my right arm. … Through 10 holes, a local player came up to me and said,‘You’re already winning,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I feel like I’m dying!’”
McCray wasn’t too far off. The pain kept getting worse and after 11 holes, he sought out a doctor player in the group ahead of him. The doctor took one look at him and called an ambulance. Less than an hour later, he was at hospital and those attending him were getting a crash cart. He needed surgery right away and the medical staff told his wife, Jennifer McCray, this is your last chance to speak with him before surgery to put in three stents.
“The last thing I told him was, ‘You better fight. It’s time to fight,’” said his wife, who is also his disc golf caddie. “There I am, by myself, waiting for him at the hospital, not knowing if he could die. It was very traumatic.
“The whole (incident) was definitely on God’s timing.The doctor on the course, as well as a registered nurse, to get an ambulance there, with me running red lights following it — it all could’ve all gone differently.”
JohnE also had an automated internal cardiac defibrillator (AICD) inserted into his upper left chest. The state-of-the-art device is essentially a pacemaker with the ability to recognize abnormally fast cardiac rhythm and provide an immediate shock treatment. Once installed, JohnE was restricted in what he could do, as the device needed to set for 90 days.
He has been medically cleared to resume disc golf activities, which include throwing and building up his endurance through evening walks.
“I definitely feel better than I did months ago,” JohnE said recently. “Getting stronger and stronger every day, and working on getting back on the course.”
It definitely won’t be much longer before JohnE’s back out there. He’s already set to play in early July, as he trains on equipment from his sponsors in his backyard.