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Do-over at life

Rick Henrick, of North Catasauqua, got the mulligan of a lifetime at Brookside Country Club last fall, but it had nothing to do with a second chance after a bad golf shot. Instead, he got a do-over at life.

From the automated external defibrillator at the club, to the quick response from club employees and the nearby Macungie Ambulance Corps, to expert care at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, everything aligned in Henrick’s favor.

After cutting his round short Sept. 15, 2021, because he wasn’t feeling well, Henrick’s heart stopped in the club’s parking lot when a “widowmaker” heart attack struck. His left anterior descending artery was totally blocked, which caused his cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest caused by a heart attack involving this blood vessel is commonly referred to as a “widow-maker” because of the high mortality rate, especially in cardiac arrests that occur outside the hospital.

Though the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is less than 10%, Henrick was lucky. Like a tee shot that bounces off a tree back onto the fairway, good fortune was with him that day.

The active 66-year-old trucking company sales director is back at work, back on the course and back to living life.

On June 1 at Brookside, Lehigh Valley Health Network celebrated Henrick’s recovery with a surprise connected to the 42nd U.S. Senior Open Championship, coming up later this month at Saucon Valley Country Club.

Henrick received passes to the 19th Hole Festival area at the championship June 21, the first day the public can attend the event. June 21 and 22 are slated for practice rounds for the pros. The pass includes gallery access to the course. He also received a chance to play Saucon Valley’s Weyhill course that day with three other golfers of his choosing. The U.S. Senior Open Championship will be played on Saucon Valley’s Old course.

LVHN is the presenting sponsor of the 19th Hole, and Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital is sponsoring the junior experience tent.

Shailendra Singh, M.D., co-director of interventional vascular cardiology at Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, said acutely critical cases such as Henrick’s are always a team effort, with everyone doing their part to save a life.

“It’s an incredible honor and privilege to be a part of this team. I am extremely proud of all our first responders, doctors, nurses and staff for their continued dedication and hard work in caring for our community,” Singh said.

Before being surprised with the U.S. Senior Open Championship gifts, Henrick shared a round of golf with Paul Heffner, his friend of nearly 50 years, Singh and David Fields, Brookside head professional. Fields was one of those who worked to revive Henrick after Henrick’s heart attack. Heffner was golfing with him that day.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS Rick Henrick, of North Catasauqua, takes a swing during a game of golf June 1 at Brookside Country Club, where he experienced a heart attack Sept. 15, 2021. Henrick was saved by a group of friends, club employees and medical personnel. He received passes to the 19th Hole Festival area at the 42nd U.S. Senior Open Championship, which takes place June 21 at Saucon Valley Country Club.
Henrick and others participate in a round of golf with the people who saved his life.