A former football player and social media influencer says he is “letting God take the lead” after suffering cardiac arrest in early August.
Dominic Fusco, 24, and his five friends headed to the Austin High School track in Texas to run a quick mile.
“It was nothing different than what I would do on a typical Saturday morning,” Fusco, a certified personal trainer and former Dickinson College football player, told PEOPLE. “I was up and I was moving and I was feeling good.”
Fusco told the outlet he was a little nervous about running a “super” fast mile, despite playing collegiate football, completing two marathons, an ultra-marathon, and working out almost daily.
Fusco ran a 5:15 mile and said he didn’t remember anything after his third lap of a four-lap mile, but when he finished the race he began panting.
“I collapsed on the track and went into cardiac arrest. While I don’t have any recollection of anything after lap 3, apparently I tried to get back up, then collapsed again and went purple, had a seizure, and lost my pulse,” Fusco wrote on Instagram.
Thankfully, a firefighter happened to be at the track and administered CPR on Fusco, with the help of one of his friends. His other friends called an ambulance.
Fusco was rushed to the ICU at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas and placed on a ventilator.
Physicians attempted to take him on the ventilator a few times, but he was unable to breathe on his own.
Fusco, the co-founder of health and wellness platform Upspace, finally woke up after his mother arrived to visit him and he was taken off the ventilator the next day.
“It was very blurry when I first came to, but I just remember being so emotional I couldn’t stop crying,” he said.
He told PEOPLE doctors said it was a miracle he did not have brain damage.
“I had cardiac arrest,” Fusco said on his Pure Ambition podcast. “I have no history of heart problems. I like to think of myself as pretty darn healthy. I exercise every freaking day. I’m very particular about what I put into my body and basically, I’m trying to optimize my health.”
After consulting with physicians, Fusco moved forward with a procedure to implant a defibrillator.
“This device will shock me if my HR ever goes too high or too low, and save my life if something like this (God forbid) ever happens again,” he explained on Instagram. “I didn’t want to sacrifice the lifestyle I desire to live for the sake of my ego. This is piece of mind knowing that I’ll be able to get back to doing what I love without having to worry.”
Although Fusco is on the road to recovery, he shares that his recent health scare has caused him to reflect on his life.
“Sometimes the setbacks we face in life reveal things we didn’t realize we were neglecting or need to do differently in the future,” he wrote on Instagram. “There’s a long and uncertain road on what my ability to exercise is going to look like moving forward, but I’m making the most of this season of my life and letting God take the lead.”
He added in another post that he’s looking at life through a different lens and going in a different direction.
“Sometimes your plans don’t align with God’s vision. Be open to what He wants for you,” Fusco expressed. “When one door closes, another one opens. I don’t want to get back to ‘normal’ because that was one chapter of my life that closed.”