Cyclist thanks heroes who saved him after heart attack in Terry Hershey Park


by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 7:20 PM

HOUSTON – A cyclist thanked the heroes who saved him after he suffered a heart attack in Terry Hershey Park back in November.

Andreas Matzakos, 49, fell off his bike and died from a heart attack on a Saturday morning in November. But he didn’t stay dead.

On Wednesday he returned to West Houston Medical Center to publically thank all those who came to his rescue that day.

”Going back to the Bible I thought, at least, the least I can do is, I can be one of those ten lepers and say, ‘Thank you for doing that,’” Matzakos said.
He was riding his bike in Terry Hershey Park when he had the heart attack. The bike path stretches for 18 miles in one direction. Some spots are so remote it would be difficult to relay your location in order for emergency vehicles to find you.

However, Matzakos had his attack very near the spot where the bike path crosses Dairy Ashford Road, a very accessible spot.

Also fortunately, a cycling buddy knew how to do CPR and started it immediately.

And a firefighter, who had never been to the park before, decided to go there and just happened to be jogging by minutes after Matzakos collapsed.

”He was pulse-less. We did CPR. We did CPR on him three rounds. We got pulses back lost him again, pulses back, lost him again,” said Michael Brown with the Houston Fire Department.

Once firefighters arrived they used a defibrillator on Matzakos and an EKG on the spot. That conveyed crucial medical data to West Houston Medical Center and staff was ready to treat him immediately once he was wheeled through the doors.

Matzakos suffered a sudden and traumatic heart attack due to 100-percent blockage in an artery. He said heart problems run in his family so he always knew he was in danger, but he thought he would first suffer symptoms.

His wife said in May he got a good report after a physical.

Matzakos has not resumed his cycling routine. Instead he exercises by walking with his wife.

”We talk, without being interrupted by our kids,” he said laughing.

The message he, his family and his medical heroes want to convey is that everyone should get CPR training.