Omar Carter has never felt better...
Omar with his mom and sister at the Walk With a Doc event at Freedom Park
He was an All-Southern Conference Player at Appalachian State, and former Brazilian Pro Basketball player. Carter had a promising career ahead of him until he collapsed during a summer league basketball game at the Grady Cole Center July 11, 2013. His heart stopped for 12 minutes while on the court.
Kelly Thomas, a Cardiac intensive care nurse who was sitting in the audience, recognized Omar’s condition even from the bleachers. She rushed down and performed CPR to the unresponsive player, and she applied an Automated External Defibrillator on Omar until the paramedics came. She is one of the reasons that Omar is with us today...
After the incident, Omar devoted his time to research for Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA), the disorder that almost killed him. He created the OC Foundation in 2014, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness for SCA.
This year, the OC Foundation was able to partner with the Walk With a Doc Org, hosted by Dr. Rohit Mehta, an adult cardiologist from Sanger Clinic in Charlotte, NC.
Omar and Dr. Mehta speaking to participants
Omar and Dr. Mehta's team met with families at Freedom Park on October 24, 2015. The whole group walked around the lake for a round cardio. Dr. Mehta also taught families how to perform CPR on a test dummy.
Ironically, I met Omar at the same location 2-years ago and I've followed his progress ever since that day. It was a no-brainer that I'd get a couple words with the guy about his near-death experience and where he is now with the transition:
“I feel fine," he says. "It gets tough. But at the same time, I know I came a long way. It makes me feel better when I hear the stories from other people when they come out. I know I’m not the only one."
Compassion consumes him and it shows, “The difficulties I face is probably talking about it. I can talk about it and then I have to go away and sit. I’m getting more and more calls from families, and even people that survived. It happens to people so young. I think the ten-year old got to me. After going to his candlelight vigil, I knew that we needed to do something about this," Omar says.
The event brought out at least 25 participants. Who knows what next year may bring.
Walk With a Doc is an annueal event: The program educates participants on how to recognize early signs and symptoms of SCA, as well as an open forum to discuss prevention. Dr. Mehta and team demonstrate CPR methods, in addition to the functions of the Automated External Defibrillator.
Date on the pictures are wrong...