Tennis star Jessica Pegula says her mom Kim, the Bills co-owner, suffered a cardiac arrest in June
Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres co-owner and president Kim Pegula suffered a cardiac arrest in June, and continues to battle speech and memory issues, her daughter, fourth-ranked women’s tennis player Jessica, revealed Tuesday.
The 28-year-old penned a piece for The Players’ Tribune detailing the issues facing her mother, the family, and the two pro sports franchises following the medical emergency. Kim, Jessica explained, has been removed from the public eye, and may not be able to continue with the same level of involvement with both the Bills and Sabres.
Kim went into cardiac arrest while sleeping back in June and received lifesaving CPR from another daughter until paramedics arrived and restored her heartbeat. The family previously said only that Kim was receiving medical care for ‘some unexpected health issues’ that arose shortly after she celebrated her 53rd birthday.
‘My mom is working hard in her recovery, she is improving, but where she ends up is still unknown,’ Jessica wrote.
Jessica decided to write about her mother’s ordeal after Bills player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during a January 2 game in Cincinnati in what Pegula described as ‘some bizarre, messed-up, full circle moment.’
Kim Pegula (left) is pictured at a Sabres game alongside daughters Jessica (right) and Kelly
Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres co-owner and president Kim Pegula (pictured) suffered a cardiac arrest in June, and continues to battle speech and memory issues, her daughter, fourth-ranked women’s tennis player Jessica, revealed Tuesday
‘My stomach sunk because it felt like the exact same thing all over again. I was sitting on the bench for a tennis event in Sydney, Australia. I wanted to throw up,’ wrote Jessica, who is No. 4 in the WTA’s singles rankings.
‘I was supposed to go on for mixed doubles in 15 minutes and I remember telling one of my teammates, ”I am a little freaked out right now, this is too close to home, and I feel like I am going to have a panic attack.”’
As Hamlin began his recovery, Jessica joined in an outpouring of support from fans and the NFL and wore a white screen-printed patch with Hamlin’s uniform number while playing at the Australian Open. ‘It didn’t feel like it was just for him, it felt like it was for my mom as well,’ she said.
Jessica had been home in Florida months earlier when she got a call from her sister, Kelly, around midnight on their mother’s birthday and learned that their mother was being rushed to the hospital.
Jessica Pegula (left) is the daughter of Terry and Kim (right), the Bills and Sabres owners
Damar Hamlin continues to recover in Buffalo after suffering a cardiac arrest on January 2
Jessica decided to write about her mother’s ordeal after Bills player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during a January 2 game in Cincinnati (pictured) in what Pegula described as ‘some bizarre, messed-up, full circle moment’
‘My mom was asleep when my dad woke up to her going into cardiac arrest and she was unresponsive for quite a while,’ she wrote. Kelly Pegula, who was staying with their parents, performed CPR — just three months after telling her family that she planned to become certified in the procedure for a job.
‘I remember her telling us what she was doing in our family group chat,’ Jessica wrote, ‘and my mom even responded, ‘Nice Kells! Now if we have a heart attack you can revive us.’
Today, Kim ‘can read, write, and understand pretty well, but she has trouble finding the words to respond,’ Jessica wrote. ‘It is hard to deal with and it takes a lot of patience to communicate with her, but I thank God every day that we can still communicate with her at all. The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery, considering where she started, and her determination is the driving force of that.’
As the first woman to serve as president of an NHL and NFL team at the same time, Kim ‘lived it and loved it, and it was felt by everyone she met,’ Jessica wrote. ‘Now we come to the realization that all of that is most likely gone. That she won’t be able to be that person anymore.’