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CrossFit Box Owner Tani Mintz Saves Member’s Life With AED

September 13, 2022 by
Photo Courtesy of Tani Mintz
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It was a normal 5 PM class on August 30 at Sharp Edge CrossFit in Evanston, IL. 

Until it wasn’t.

As he was warming up his snatch, new member and new grandfather, 60-year-old Mike Fowler, began kneeling on the ground in his usual “out of breath position,” explained the gym’s owner Tani Mintz.

“I asked him if he was OK and he said yes, but a few seconds later I looked at him again and he was laying on the floor on his side with his eyes open, breathing loudly but his breath sounded like a gargle,” she explained. “He was taking deep, loud, fluid-filled breaths and was unresponsive.”

What happened next: Mintz called 911, and when she returned to Fowler’s side, his breath had become shallow, almost non-existent, and she noticed his face was swollen and blue-ish purple. That’s when she ran and grabbed the AED and followed the instructions.

  • “The AED scanned his pulse and after a few seconds told me to administer a shock. I did, he jolted and then another gym member began chest compressions,” Mintz said.  
  • Within 60 seconds, Fowler began breathing again, and even talking. “The first words out of his mouth were, ‘I’m sorry,’” Mintz said. 
  • Paramedics soon arrived and rushed Fowler to the hospital, where doctors confirmed he had had a heart attack.
  • The captain of the firefighting crew who tended to Fowler later returned to inform Mintz that she had saved Fowler’s life, and told her he was going to recommend her for a life-saving award. “I feel beyond grateful that I was there, and the fact that he is alive is all the reward I want or need,” Mintz said. 

More important to her is that every gym invests in an AED, she explained, because, although she hopes it will never have to be used, you never know when you’ll need one to save a life, she explained.

One week later: Today, after spending two nights in the hospital, Fowler is back at home and “on the mend,” Mintz said. “He said he’s walking three to four miles a day already and has a plan with his doctor to start some cardio therapy in the next few weeks.”

  • She added: “I talked to his wife today and she said that when the doctor found out he was doing CrossFit, the doctor said (something along the lines of), ‘That’s exactly what you should be doing and you should absolutely go back to CrossFit when you’re out of here. I need to find out who this doctor is and thank them big time.”

That’s the story.  There are other details relating to his heart that were discovered as a result of yesterday’s heart attack, and I think they’re important details, but I’d be more comfortable sharing them after I have his permission.  Knowing him as I do, I think he’ll be more than happy to share his story if it means bringing awareness to the importance of having an AED readily available.

Thanks for listening and for considering this as a story.  If you do decide to write something up about this, and if just one gym buys an AED because of it, I would call it a successful article.

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