His dad's heart stopped suddenly at age 53. His stopped at 42.
By Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO
Please note: This article was published more than two years ago, so some information may be outdated. If you have questions about your health, always contact a health care professional.
John Hoerster has the same name as his father. He followed him into the same profession, coaching high school football.
And after his dad died of a heart attack at 53, John figured it was a matter of time before his heart gave out.
So John vowed to push that date with destiny as far into the future as possible. He didn’t just diet and exercise. He made fitness such a priority that on July 5 – while his extended family was settling in for a cocktail hour around the pool of the home they’d rented in the Outer Banks, North Carolina – he capped a day of golf and parasailing by heading to the ocean for a swim.
“Make it quick,” his wife, Margaret, said as he headed toward the beach. “The crab feast is at 8.”
A few minutes before 8 p.m., John walked back up the sand to the house, water still dripping off his swimsuit. He passed kids sprawled on picnic tables getting drops to relieve swimmer’s ear and adults nibbling on cheese and crackers. About 10 feet from Margaret, John collapsed. At 42, his heart had stopped, just like his dad’s.
Except for one key difference: His dad’s heart stopped while watering flowers alone in his yard. John’s heart stopped in front of about 30 relatives.
American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the American Heart Association’s official guidance, policies or positions.
Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.
HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.