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“Thank God we can still communicate with her” : Jessica Pegula goes public with mom’s cardiac arrest and subsequent recovery

The world No 4 reveals how her sister saved her mother’s life through CPR and how difficult her recovery has been

Jessica Pegula, 2022 Jessica Pegula, 2022 | © Zuma / Panoramic

World No 4 Jessica Pegula has revealed that her mom, Kim Pegula, who is also the owner of the co-owner and president of the Buffalo Bills NFL team and the Buffalo Sabres NHL team, suffered a cardiac arrest last June and has had a challenging recovery since then.

Pegula made the revelations in The Players Tribune, the first time the family has gone public with the issue that has been kept largely under wraps since it happened.

“In June 2022, I had just flown back to Florida from the French Open. I made the quarter-finals in singles and the finals in doubles. It was an amazing two weeks full of a lot of positives, including cracking the Top 10 in the world,” Pegula wrote in the article. “A few days after I got home, I got a call around midnight (on my mom’s birthday) from my sister Kelly who was staying at my parents’ house. Something was wrong with our mom, and she was headed to the hospital in an ambulance. My mom was asleep when my dad woke up to her going into cardiac arrest and she was unresponsive for quite a while. My sister gave her CPR until the ambulance arrived. She saved her life. Even though she doesn’t like to take credit for this terrible situation, she absolutely saved her life, followed by the critical job performed by the paramedics who arrived and were able to restore a heartbeat.”

“The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery” – Pegula

Pegula detailed her mom’s current condition, adding that while Kim has made significant improvements since the incident, she is still far from her earlier self.

“Today, my mom is still in recovery and although it is the same answer every time someone asks me, it is true, she is improving every day. She is dealing with significant expressive aphasia and significant memory issues. She can read, write, and understand pretty well, but she has trouble finding the words to respond. It is hard to deal with and it takes a lot of patience to communicate with her, but I thank God every day that we can still communicate with her at all. The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery, considering where she started, and her determination is the driving force of that.”

The American, who reached the quarter-finals at last month’s Australian Open, said she was in two minds about playing at Wimbledon last year but decided to do so because her mom had started to make progress, albeit slow, and it was what her mom would have wanted her to do.

Thankful that she is now home, that she gets to watch the Bills, Sabres, and my tennis matches.

Jessica Pegula

“I went and played Wimbledon and won my first two rounds. I was sick with a nasty sinus infection, probably from the stress of what had happened and living in and out of a hospital for two weeks. I had to deal with a lot of speculation and questions surrounding her health, even shutting down rumors that she had died. It wasn’t necessarily the most fun Wimbledon experience I remember. I had a few good wins, and I was proud that I was able to go out and compete considering the situation,” she added.

Towards the end of the article, Pegula said it had been “a tough year” but at the same time she felt lucky and blessed.

“Thankful for the doctors that aided in her recovery. Thankful that she is now home, that she gets to watch the Bills, Sabres, and my tennis matches. She never watched my matches before, because she got too nervous. Now she watches all of them. Thank you to the Buffalo community for your patience. I know you have wanted answers and it took us a while to get there but it finally felt like it was time. Thank you to everyone who has respected privacy and shown me and my family tremendous support throughout this ongoing journey.”

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