The Staff Was Unable to Restart His Heart: Joel’s Story

The Staff Was Unable to Restart His Heart: Joel’s Story

As told by his brother, Brandon.

My brother Joel was sick with the flu for a couple of days at Marietta College where he was a freshman linebacker on the football team and a petroleum engineering major.

He woke up one morning and told my mother by phone he was having difficulty breathing. No one knew how grave his situation was. He was unable to walk down the steps to meet the ambulance and was carried by a much smaller friend.

By the time he reached the hospital, it wasn’t long until he went into cardiac arrest. The staff was unable to restart his heart. The autopsy revealed a large clot was wedged in the branch of his lungs (saddle pulmonary embolism). It is believed by a doctor that this should have resulted in instant death but attributed his young age and fitness levels to him making it almost two hours in the dire condition. He was just 18.

In terms of risk factors, it was the offseason for football so it was either him being less active than usual because of the flu or a minor injury from weightlifting or pickup basketball.

After his death, Joel tested positive for factor V Leiden, a genetic clotting disorder. All immediate family has been tested for genetic clotting disorders and only our mother has tested positive for factor V Leiden.

This has made me believe that no one is immune to anything. My advice is to know the risks of blood clots and get your bloodwork done to check for clotting disorders.


Factor V Leiden
Signs and Symptoms
Family Testing for Clotting Disorders

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