Garett Hood: Flat Lines Five Times, Credits CrossFit With Bringing Him Back

November 27, 2020 by
Courtesy of Garett Hood
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On September 23, Garett Hood woke up at 6 AM like normal to feed his Border Collie and Rottweiler. The next thing he knew, he woke up on the floor. Assuming he had just passed out, he started getting ready for work, but as he was outside about to leave, it happened again. “So I went and told my girlfriend, and she was like, ‘You have to go to the hospital,’” said the 40-year-old Hood, a member of CrossFit North Cloud in Concordia, KS for the last four-and-a-half years. 

What happened next: Doctors diagnosed Hood with Sick Sinus Syndrome, a condition that interrupts the heart’s natural pacemaker from creating a heart rate appropriate for the body’s needs. In Hood’s case, his pacemaker stopped working entirely so his heart stopped beating.

  • “So basically I hadn’t passed out. I flatlined and actually died…One time, I was dead for 30 seconds,” Hood said. While there are various causes of Sick Sinus Syndrome, because Hood is fit and healthy without underlying issues, doctors believe his case is genetic. 
  • While in the hospital, Hood had two more flat lining episodes. “After one of them, I woke up and was pretty disoriented and my nurse was trying to cut off my Kill Cliff shirt. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ It’s one of my favorite shirts. So I took it off myself,” he said, laughing.

One big thing: Doctors told Hood that had he not been so fit, the damage to his heart could have been a lot worse. 

  • “Many who flat line for 10 to 15 seconds don’t really come back quite normal, and lots of times they don’t make it. So definitely, it helped that I’m in exceptional health and my heart is as strong as it is from working out in the last four years” Hood said. 
  • Hood also lost 30 pounds in the last two years through counting his macros, and said “there’s no way I would have come out of this the way I have if I was 30 pounds heavier.”
  • Not only did his health and fitness help him avoid permanent physical damage or death, Hood said his fitness level is also playing a big role in his speedy recovery. Just one week after having a pacemaker put into his heart to help ensure normal electrical function, he was back at the gym. “I went six weeks without being able to use my left arm much, because I needed to give it time for scar tissue needed to build up first, but other than that, I was back in the gym full force,” he said. 
Courtesy of Garett Hood

Hood’s message: Do what you can to stay fit and healthy, and don’t stress the small things.

  • “The things that used to feel stressful don’t feel stressful anymore. But being back at work and the gym helps me feel more normal. You get one chance at life, so make the best of it every day. Surround yourself with great people and enjoy it while you have it,” he said.
  • He added: And you better believe “I’m going to keep doing CrossFit.”

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