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Kemoy Campbell Returns To Millrose As A Starter
- Updated: 02/10/2020
Jamaica’s retired distance runner Kemoy Campbell returned to the 2020 Millrose Games at The Armory in New York yesterday, February 8, not to compete but to operate the starter’s gun for the 3000m, the race in which he collapsed last year as the pacesetter.
Campbell’s heart stopped as he lay on the in-field February 9 last year and eventually had to be jump-started by a defibrillator after he received CPR from hero who sprang into action when he saw Campbell in trouble. But Campbell didn’t just snap back to life; he was unconscious for two days before he woke up from the “darkness”, as he put it, shaking under a number of blankets. That was the end of Campbell’s running career, for his doctor ordered him to quit.
Equipped with a defibrillator just below his armpit and his fiancée by his side, the 29-yr-old Campbell returned to The Armory to face his fear that has lingered since last year’s Millrose, to walk one lap to make it his final, and to act as the starter for the men’s 3000m race.
In an NBC Sports documentary titled “Kemoy Campbell: Gift of Life”, Campbell showed interviewer Lewis Johnson where the equipment was implanted under his skin, explaining that it was placed there to jumpstart his heart should it stop again. It would restore normal heartbeat by sending electric pulse or shock to the heart. It is also used to prevent or correct an arrhythmia when the heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern.
Campbell’s harrowing experience prompted him to become CPR-certified and encourage others to do the same. He also volunteer as a distance coach at Johnson and Wales University and is helping to spread awareness about heart disease. They are all his way of showing gratitude and possibly helping someone just as Todd Sinclair, a retired high school athletic director who happened to be at Millrose with a friend, came to his rescue when his heart stopped.
The best gift you can give someone, Campbell said, is the gift of life.