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CrossFitter reunited with off-duty Calgary medics who saved his life

One year after suffering a near-fatal heart condition at a 2022 CrossFit competition, Jason Wang met with the two off-duty EMTs at the same place where they saved his life.

Wang, who was full of gratitude and smiles on Thursday, met up with firefighter Eric Adams of Station 33 and Sergeant Jason Walliser of District 8, at the Athlete Inside Performance gym in southeast Calgary.

The two men jumped in and helped perform CPR after seeing Wang collapse during the competition last year. For Wang, the whole series of events is still hard to comprehend.

“I remember tagging my partner in back into the event and then my world kind of just went dark, and then next thing you know, I woke up and someone was caressing my head, her name was Dara she was giving me comfort and telling me it was going to be OK,” Wang said.

“I noticed my shirt was gone and I had two pads on me from the AED, and that’s when it quickly clicked that something had gone wrong, and I was out for a period of time.”

That AED that was placed on his chest was due to the quick thinking of Adam’s and Walliser.

Adams, who was at the event as a spectator, noticed signs of distress in Wang once he took a knee. After Wang collapsed, Adams was quick to start CPR.

“As he went down I quickly did vitals, (I) had another member grab the AED, got that going, Jason from CPS came in, gave me a hand and we were able to initiate CPR right away, then we shocked him twice and he began to recover on his own,” Adam’s said.

Adam’s and Walliser’s quick thinking undoubtedly helped save Wang’s life, but Adams credits having the AED in the gym as a key part of the success in this situation.

“AEDs do save lives and they’re a tool that assists in the life-saving process,” Adams said.

“I think that to give everyone the benefit of another chance is very valuable.”

CPR training invaluable: Walliser

Walliser, who was at the competition as a competitor, notes that having the AED was crucial in this situation. He also underscored the importance of having CPR training.

“If I was to get a message out to anybody it’s to learn that stuff (CPR), it’s a low frequency that you’re probably going to use it, but I even find myself now, even more than before when I go to a building, especially a commercial building, I’m looking for the location of the AED,” Walliser said.

Wang was taken to the Foothills Hospital, and after numerus tests doctor weren’t able to pinpoint a particular cause for the collapse, all doctors could say is that he had an arrhythmia in his heart.

Wang is back to a moderate level of training but doesn’t anticipate reaching the level he was at before. He’s forever grateful to the people who saved his life on May 15, 2022.

Wang credits quick thinking, actions of the volunteers at the gym, the fire department, the police calling 911, bystander CPR, the AED, and the CrossFit gym itself as the combination of reasons that he is still here today.

“Every second, third person that does CrossFit is a paramedic, firefighter, doctor who has some form of CPR training, so I’m really lucky to be where I was, at that moment,” he said.