Kemoy Campbell retires, six months after heart stopped during race

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Jamaican distance runner Kemoy Campbell has retired, six months after his heart stopped while he ran at the Millrose Games track meet.

“It’s with a heavy heart, or half of one rather,” was posted on Campbell’s social media. “I must say goodbye to the sport. I will no longer be competing. I have given my all to this sport. It has taken me to places I have never dreamt of going. It gave a shy boy from a rural area in Jamaica the opportunity to prove himself to the world.”

Campbell, 28, made the announcement after visiting a medical center Thursday, according to his social media.

“I was told today that I shouldn’t compete again or this incident will happen again,” was posted. “I have pushed myself so hard that it almost ended my life. All the goals I had set for 2020 was thrown out the window today. I wanted to be the first Jamaican to medal at Olympics in a distance race, but that’s not going happen.”

Campbell, the only Jamaican to race an Olympic 5000m (eliminated in the heats in Rio), collapsed at the Millrose Games on Feb. 9 while pacing a race at the indoor meet.

He was treated by emergency services and taken to a medical facility. He did not remember what happened, only waking up in a hospital two days later.

“They had to use CPR to revive me,” he said on BBC radio in March. “Doctors were explaining that, hey, my heart stopped. I basically died.”

Campbell said that doctors could not discern the cause of the heart stoppage from tests done while he spent 17 days in the hospital. A defibrillator was reportedly inserted into his chest.

Campbell did go into the meet saying he felt like he couldn’t breathe in practice and had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for after the meet. He thought he had exercise-induced asthma.

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