Oregon assistant recovers from cardiac arrest

Oregon assistant recovers from cardiac arrest

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Oregon assistant recovers from cardiac arrest

Van Williams is thankful to be alive.

Williams, an assistant men’s golf coach at Oregon, suffered sudden cardiac arrest on Nov. 30 while running in Eugene, Ore. Four days later, Williams was back home with his wife, Dani, and their four children (Connor, 8; Haley, 6; Colt, 4; and Jake, 3).

“It was a rough weekend, but everything is good,” Williams told Golfweek Monday by phone. “I’m very thankful. I believe that everything happens for a reason. … God had a plan for me and I never had any worry or stress. I trusted the plan he had for me.”

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Dani left early in the morning Nov. 30 for an eight-mile run through Santa Clara thinking her husband would meet her for the final few miles. When he didn’t show, she called his cell phone and instead heard another man’s voice come through from the other end.

The man told Dani her husband was laying on the side of the road.

Van’s heart had stopped, causing him to collapse along Hunsaker Lane. He was halfway between his home and where he was supposed to meet Dani. He doesn’t remember how long he was there, but was told he was without a pulse for at least eight minutes. By the time Dani found her husband, ER nurse Benjamin Else was already performing CPR. Else had been on his way home from working a night shift.

In an interview with a local news station, Dani recalled Van’s eyes rolled back and the absence of a pulse. The sight caused her to collapse and begin to pray.

“It was all I knew to do,” she told local TV station KEZI 9.

Van regained a pulse just before being loaded into the ambulance. When he arrived at the hospital, he was put on a ventilator and into a controlled, sedated state. At the hospital, Dani called Oregon head coach Casey Martin.

“When I walked in, the gravity of the situation hit me,” Martin said. “When I saw him he was white as a ghost. My heart just sunk.”

Martin said doctors then told him it’s rare for patients to survive after they have gone without a pulse for more than about five minutes.

“I just started calling everyone I knew,” Martin said. “A lot of people were praying. … Praise God.”

Van Williams woke up the next afternoon. Tests revealed no blockages, but he said he has to schedule a follow-up soon. He was released from the hospital three days later.

“It was amazing coming home to my wife and kids,” Williams said. “This whole thing has put a new perspective on things. It’s given me the opportunity to reflect on being a dad and raising my kids and the time that I have with them. … It was a joy to walk in that door.”

While he’s excited to be home, Williams is also looking forward to the spring golf season. The Ducks went undefeated in four tournament this fall and are ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

“I’m super excited,” Williams said. “They are a great group of guys, not only on the course, but they are awesome to be around off of it. … I can’t wait to see them continue to get better and give themselves an opportunity to win come May.”

Of course, the Ducks will be just as excited to see him.

“I’m thrilled,” Martin said. “I really thought that he was gone, so to have him wake up was such a blessing.”

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