Utah State track and field athlete Roman Ruiz competes on the high jump in 2019 in Logan. | Wade Denniston
Roman Ruiz probably wouldn’t be alive if not for the quick actions of a passerby
Since the day he mysteriously collapsed during a workout three weeks ago, Roman Ruiz, a sophomore track and field athlete at Utah State, has been confined to a hospital bed struggling to climb back to consciousness and return to life.
If not for a flat tire and a quick-thinking passerby, he probably would not be here at all.
Doctors told Ruiz’s parents that their son had an anoxic (depletion of oxygen) brain injury caused by cardiac arrest, although they don’t know what triggered the event. He was technically dead for 30 to 35 minutes. It took that long to resuscitate him — after a lengthy CPR procedure, three defibrillation attempts and a shot of epinephrine. The danger of oxygen deprivation of course is brain damage.
Ruiz was taken to Logan Regional Hospital then life-flighted to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. He was put in a medically induced coma for several days. He spent nine days in ICU.
“It’s been tough to watch,” says Ruiz’s father, Javier.
Roman is in obvious pain. He has been so restless and uncomfortable that he has developed scrapes and scabs on his knees, hips, shoulders, nose and face from constantly rolling around in his bed. A nursing tech has been assigned to watch him around the clock.
“He looks like he’s been in an MMA fight,” says his father.
Roman doesn’t talk, but he can respond with a word or two occasionally. The family was excited when he exchanged a high-five with his nurse. When a nurse observed him thrashing restlessly with his arms, she teasingly asked him if he wanted to arm wrestle. He smiled and obliged. He also has said “dad” and “thanks.” Progress is measured in small steps.
“He is in a minimally conscious state,” says Javier. “It’s part of the brain injury process.”
Ruiz has competed in athletics since he was a young boy and never gave any indication there were underlying health issues. In high school competition in his native Pasco, Washington, he excelled in a wide range of track and field events, throwing the shot put 52 feet, pole vaulting 15 feet, 9 inches and covering the high hurdles in 14.38. This made him a natural for the collegiate multi-events — the
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News