Former Olympic runner, Meskerem Legesse of Ethiopia, collapsed and died at a restaurant this past Monday. Legesse, 26, was supposed to be due to give birth to a baby in just three weeks. Luckily, she was brought to the hospital fast enough for doctors to save the baby.
The cause of death is unknown right now, but reports say that the professional runner has suffered from heart problems in the past, and that may have been a factor in her untimely death. For a distance runner like Legesse, a heart problem would seem to be a little strange, only because she needs her heart to keep pumping blood around her body to keep running.
Meskerem Legesse participated in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where she ran in the 1500-meter race. Although she had a poor performance in the first round heat (12th), she didn’t let that affect her career. After failing to make the medal round in the event, Legesse decided to pursue a running career in the U.S. She has competed in events such as the Boston Indoor Games, the Millrose Games located in New York, and the Fifth Avenue Mile in Manhattan.
When she collapsed around 2 p.m on Monday, firefighters along with paramedics rushed to the scene to help. They tried doing CPR on Legesse at the restaurant, but it was unsuccessful. The paramedics were persistent though, and still did CPR while in the ambulance. Although the efforts of the first responders weren’t enough to save the professional runner, it eventually led to saving the baby.
Hamden (CT) fire chief David Berardesca said that the “doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital were able to save the baby because of the CPR efforts both in the restaurant and in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.”
Even through death, we seem to find a glimmer of hope, in this case it’s a newborn baby.