16-year-old Sammy Berko from Missouri City, Texas suffered a sudden cardiac arrest after climbing a rock wall and ringing the bell. A radiologist on the scene started CPR, which doctors continued for two hours at Texas Medical Center before pronouncing Sammy dead. Soon after, Sammy’s mother Jennifer prayed and, five minutes later, saw her son come back to life.
The teen suffered a spinal cord injury and a series of small strokes and is mostly paralyzed from the waist down. However, he is “still himself” with some short-term memory loss. After eight weeks in hospital and 58 days in rehab, Sammy is back in school full-time and remains active with the help of a wheelchair during the day. His family considers his survival a miracle.
Sammy has catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), like his mother and his younger brother who passed away in 2019. His mother is now advocating for heart screenings to help identify this condition in children before it’s too late.