Brush with death on the golf course: PGA instructor recounts how golfers rushed to save his life
In article mentions while in cardic arrest “It was as if I was looking down on my lifeless body. It seemed to be brighter than I’ve ever seen myself in a mirror,” Impaglia said. “I was very calm, very peaceful. And then I was back in my body, and I felt pressure on my chest.”
PGA golf instructor Bobby Impaglia embraces Anne Marie Vecchione, a registerd nurse who helped save his life at Broward Health North Medical Center.
July 12, 2023 - Reported [here]. Brush with death on the golf course: PGA instructor recounts how golfers rushed to save his life. Bobby Impaglia is used to aches in his arms from countless club swings over the years as a PGA golf instructor. So when he felt a tingling sensation stream down his left arm while teaching a student, he didn’t make much of it.
But then a creeping chest pain followed, similar to indigestion, Impaglia said.
“I felt pretty funny — I can’t explain the feeling — I just wasn’t myself,” he said. “But around 11 o’clock that morning, my story turned.”
On Nov. 13, 2022, Impaglia was teaching at Deer Creek Golf Course in Deerfield Beach. As he does with many students, he pulled out his phone to film their swing, and as he brought the screen up to his face, he remembered clutching his stomach as he fell to the ground.
He was in cardiac arrest.
“It was as if I was looking down on my lifeless body. It seemed to be brighter than I’ve ever seen myself in a mirror,” Impaglia said. “I was very calm, very peaceful. And then I was back in my body, and I felt pressure on my chest.”
From security camera footage, he would later learn that pressure was CPR compressions. A former Army medic who happened to be at the range for the first time in his life was trying to save the instructor.
A bystander dialed 911, and within eight minutes, first responders were on the scene.
A defibrillator was used on Impaglia three times, and Impaglia flat-lined before he was rushed to Broward Health North Medical Center in Deerfield.
In those eight minutes, Impaglia clinically died twice.
Impaglia, of Boca Raton, recounted his brush with death at a forum Wednesday at the Broward Health North Emergency Department. As he spoke beside the hospital staff who saved his life, the weight of his words gave him pause. His eyes gleamed with gratitude for the doctors and nurses who gave him a second chance.
“I remember watching his heart rate and telling him, ‘We’re going to take care of you,'” said registered nurse Annie Marie Vecchione. “You owe me golf lessons,” she joked.
Vecchione was the one who informed him he’d flat-lined twice.
“Not only did they take care of me, they took care of my family,” he said. “I can’t thank this staff enough.”
Among that staff was cardiologist Dr. Andre Landau, who spoke of the procedure that would return blood carrying vital oxygen back to Impaglia’s heart.
Landau found a 90% blockage in Impaglia’s widowmaker artery, the heart’s largest artery, and a 100% blockage in a lesser artery. They placed catheters in his arteries, opened them with a balloon and inserted a stent to reestablish blood flow.
“Fortunately, things occurred really early on, and he had very little muscle damage and made a prompt and good clinical recovery,” Landau said. “It really shows that if you have all these things in place, both in the community and in the hospital, people can get excellent and deserved care right away.”
Impaglia was back on the range within a week.
For a lean man who’s taught golf for over 30 years, he didn’t consider the possibility of cardiac arrest. Now, he advises everyone he can to watch for the signs and take them seriously.
“If you ever feel anything going down from your heart to your arm, it’s a clear sign to get to an emergency room,” Impaglia said.
When he reflects on his waltz with death, he tries not to let the question of “Why am I so lucky?” overwhelm him. But each day, he echoes the wisdom learned by many cardiac arrest survivors: “Take every day as a gift.”