Zack Clements is by all accounts a normal, healthy, strong high schooler. He plays on the football team, goofs around, and participates in PE. But that’s precisely what got him into trouble. As he was running in PE class, he dropped to the ground. Sudden cardiac arrest, then doctors later determined. Zack was dead and without a heartbeat for 20 minutes. But then he woke up.
Victory Life Academy was holding their football endurance training that day.
Out of nowhere and without warning the Warrior Athletics student collapse on the football field. The principal, Gary Bay, used to be a volunteer ambulance crew. He got to work to help and save Zack.
An ambulance crew and coach performed CPR on the teen. “The situation was one of the gravest I’d seen,” says Bay. Zack was transferred to the Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
By the time Zack’s parents Teresa and Billy Clements met with doctors at the hospital, they were given the grim news.
Zack had been dead for 20 minutes. Doctors were concerned of irreversible brain damage.
His heart stop beating due to a rhythm problem, small abnormal coronary artery, and inflammation.
Doctors admit they do not work on someone’s body for that long. After a certain time when there is no pulse, doctors have no other choice but to call the time.
Miraculously, Zack’s heart began to beat on his own.
The teenager was put in a medically induced coma. His body temperature was lowered so his brain could recover from the cardiac trauma.
Days after dying and returning back to life, Zack woke up from his hospital bed.
He shocked the staff who were worried he would be like other people who never wake up from a medically induced coma after such a traumatic experience.
Although Clements’ recovery cannot be explained by medicine and felt completely miraculous, it’s what the teenager said when he woke up that caused his story to go viral.
In the video below, Zack explained he “saw a man who had long ruffled hair and kind of a thick beard, and it didn’t take me long to realize that that was Jesus.”
Zack revealed the man did not tell him his name but he knew it was Jesus.
“He put his hand on my shoulder and told me that everything was going to be all right. It made me feel like someone was watching over me and I was going to get through it,” says Zack.
From that experience, the teen says he has changed.
“Since it happened, I feel like I’m a stronger person,” admits Zack.
His parents, Billy and Teresa have received a lot of love and support from complete strangers across the country. The family has also encountered criticism.
One of the accusations the parents have received is that they gave their son a pill that would make it appear he went into cardiac arrest.
“People can argue science and logic, but they can’t argue somebody’s personal experience. They can’t take that away from Zack,” argues Billy.
Cardiologist, Dr. Lisa Roten who was part of Zack’s medical team says that society does not like to think what happens when we die.
“It’s an uncomfortable thing. But somebody who is not clinically dead or has not been in that state cannot say what Zack did or did not see. He is somebody who, for 20 minutes, didn’t have a heartbeat,” explains Dr. Roten.