Bob Harper on His Near-Fatal Heart Attack: ‘I Was on that Ground Dead’

Bob Harper appeared on Today on Tuesday morning (Apr. 4, 2017) to tell the story of the nearly fatal heart that he survived on Feb. 12, 2017.

Harper told Today host Savannah Guthrie that he fell to the ground and went into “full cardiac arrest” while he was at the gym with his friends that morning earlier this year.

“My heart stopped. Not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead,” said the Biggest Loser trainer.

A CrossFit coach at the gym located two doctors who were able to perform CPR on Harper and administer a defibrillator to his heart twice before the paramedics arrived. The paramedics used the defibrillator on his heart once more before they arrived at the hospital.

“I had what they call a ‘widow-maker,'” he continued. “It was a six percent survival rate, and the fact that there were doctors in the gym when I had the heart attack saved my life.”

Harper said that he was confused when he finally regained consciousness. “I was like Dory from Finding Nemo because I had this short-term memory, so I was reliving the heart attack over and over again,” he said, adding that emotion struck him each time he saw the moment flash before his eyes.

The trainer said that he never considered the possibility of having a heart attack given his outward appearance of great physical health, but he realized  in hindsight that there were clues foreshadowing an internal problem, like sudden dizzy spells.

“It was hugely shocking for me,” Harper said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about the fact that genetics does play a part in this. It is so important to know your health. There were things going on inside of my body that I needed to be more aware of.”

Harper explained he goes to cardiac rehab three times a week. Though his body feels better as a result, Harper told Guthrie that he is going through some depression.

“You really face your mortality, and I’m really understanding what’s important in life. I’m not sweating the small things anymore, and I’m not sweating the big things anymore. I care about my friends. I care about my family. I care about my dog. I’m going to appreciate every single day that I’m here.”

Watch the full clip of Harper’s interview at the top of the page.