Engine 2 Inspiration: Rick’s Story


In June, 2009, my heart arrested suddenly during a USTA tennis match. I had the amazing good fortune to be playing against a team that included a cardiologist. He performed world class cpr for over 12 minutes (assisted by a peds intensivist who had finished playing his match) until the fire department rescue squad arrived and successfully restarted my heart with a defibrillator. That night, I underwent an emergent X6 bypass surgery.

Within a month after my surgery, I discovered Dr. Esselstyn’s book.¬† I was impressed by the science behind his recommendations, and Iimmediately¬† transitioned to a plant based diet. I attended Dr. Esselstyn’s day long seminar in October, 2009¬† and have been an adherent to his plant-based, oil free program since then. In the initial months, my recovery seemed a bit slower than I had hoped, and I soon learned that two of the bypass grafts were no good from the start. I continued to train and, in time, the combination of the plant based diet and development of good collateral circulation enabled me to return not only to playing team tennis but also to compete in 10k races and duathlons.

This past summer, I competed in the cycling races in our state level senior games and managed to qualify for both time trials and road racing events in the National Senior Games next year in Minneapolis. I will be competing in the 65-69 year old age group. I had been a trial attorney for most of my adult life and specialized in medical cases. I defended many cardiology cases, and developed a strong background in the medicine.

It was beyond ironic that a cardiologist was present to save my life when I arrested. Both he and I were subbing for our teams that evening. I am now a law professor and will be teaching a course in animal law this spring. I have a brother who underwent a nuclear stress test soon after my event. The test disclosed cardiac ischemia. He also adopted Dr. Esselstyn’s program and within three years, he was tested again.¬† The latest test showed no ischemia. Plant power!


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