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Miraculous Recovery: Teen Wrestler Survives Cardiac Arrest with Friends’ Swift Aid



Quick Smiles:

  • 18-year-old wrestler, J.J. Machnik, suffered a cardiac arrest during a workout due to a rare genetic condition.
  • The swift actions of his friends and teammates ensured he received life-saving CPR before emergency services arrived.
  • After the shocking incident, J.J.’s recovery is progressing well with continuous physical therapy and a newfound appreciation for life, thanks to his fast-acting friends.

During the warm month of May, high school wrestler J.J. Machnik was in the middle of a workout on a treadmill at a teammate’s house when his heart suddenly stopped, resulting in a cardiac arrest. The event was a shocking twist in what seemed like an ordinary day for J.J.

J.J.’s teammate’s mother quickly called 911, while his teammate and the teammate’s younger brother administered CPR. This swift response was essential. As stated by his doctor, “J.J. was, for all intents and purposes, dead. His heart had stopped for a minute or two.”

This unexpected event left the New Jersey teen stunned. He describes the incident as surreal and fleeting: “It happened so fast. It doesn’t feel real.”

In 2017, J.J.’s father, Jeff Machnik, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – a condition causing the thickening of the heart muscle, which can obstruct blood flow. Although J.J. and his siblings were tested and cleared at the time, he was later diagnosed with HCM.

This genetic condition affects around 1 in 500 people, according to the American Heart Association. Yet, a significant number of people are unaware they have it due to the absence of symptoms. Despite having HCM, J.J. showed no signs and was an active member and captain of his high school wrestling team.

On the day of his cardiac arrest, J.J. and teammate Giovanni Scafidi were preparing for a wrestling tournament at Marlana Hodgin’s residence, which featured a gym-equipped “wrestling barn”. Without his usual defibrillator at hand, the wrestling workout turned life-threateningly serious.

Hodgins and her son, Trevor, along with Giovanni, quickly responded to J.J.’s fall. They moved him off the treadmill and started CPR, alternating chest compressions with breaths. Their actions, informed by lessons from Trevor’s father, a CPR instructor, kept J.J. alive until paramedics arrived.


Following the traumatic incident, J.J. received a pacemaker-defibrillator combo to help prevent future situations. His recovery involves physical therapy and learning to adjust to physical limitations. His mother shared, “He’s just trying to get back to normal. He still can’t lift his arm over his head. He’s got a ways to go.”

Looking back at the event, J.J.’s doctor emphasized life’s unpredictability, stating the heart incident could have occurred at any time. J.J. is thankful to have been around friends who understood how to react in a crisis, saying, “If I were anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. It’s really a miracle. I don’t know how else to express it.”





    July 7, 2024 at 11:05 am

    What a great lesson that everybody needs to know CPR ! So thrilled for this young man & his friends !

  2. Mike

    July 7, 2024 at 12:20 pm

    Did the boy have Covid shots forced on him? HCM is rising because of the clot shots. It’s sad and so unnecessary that so many young people are having heart issues because of the poison shots that were pushed on the needlessly.

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