AKRON, Ohio -- A man who was brought back to life after faltering within the first two miles of a marathon race in Akron is back at home and thankful to be alive.
Tony Lindeman, a 46-year-old married father of two teenage girls and a councilman in the village of Doylestown, told the Akron Beacon Journal that he felt fine before the Sept. 29 race in downtown Akron.
Lindeman, who previously had run seven marathons, remembers his friends passing him by in the beginning, as they usually do, but can't remember what happened as he was nearing the second mile-marker.
Surgical nurse and runner Heather Pariso says she'll never forget it.
The 34-year-old from Coventry Township said that she saw Lindemen leave the street, run onto the sidewalk and collapse.
"I just thought he tripped on uneven pavement," she said. "I went to him right away, but as soon as I got to him, I saw he hadn't tripped."
Pariso managed to get Lindeman on his back and saw that he no longer was breathing. She began manually pumping his heart as other medical professionals scrambled to help, giving Lindeman mouth-to-mouth, calling 911 and praying over his lifeless body.
Within a few minutes, an ambulance arrived and used a defibrillator to restart his heart.
About a half-hour later, Lindeman awoke in the hospital. His face was raw and bloody from the fall, his chest was sore and his bones were aching. Confused, Lindeman wondered why he wasn't running in the race.
"Today is the luckiest day of your life," a nurse told him.
Lindeman was hospitalized for five days before his release earlier this month. He's awaiting surgery to implant a defibrillator, but was temporarily fitted with a vest and monitoring device that will shock his heart if it stops again.
Doctors told Lindeman that his arteries weren't blocked and that he had a healthy, strong heart.
"They told us 98 percent of the people (whose hearts stop) are due to a heart attack or a blockage," said wife Ann Lindeman. "He's in the 2 percent that they can't explain."
Lindeman said, "It was sort of like my electronic system went off that day."
He said he doesn't know if he'll be allowed to run again. To be honest, he said he's a little nervous about doing anything until he better understands why his heart failed him.
Meanwhile he and Pariso are in regular contact. He thinks of her as his "angel," and Pariso knows she'll never be the same.
"I hug my husband and kids a little longer now," she said.
She said she was running behind schedule that day and wasn't even supposed to be near the 2-mile marker where Lindeman collapsed.
"But now I feel like it was for a reason," she said. "I was there because I was supposed to be there."
The Associated Press