If you've been wondering what happened to the caddie who collapsed at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, we finally have an update: he's on the mend despite dismal circumstances.
Leo Lukenas, the caddie for amateur Geoff Couch, collapsed during the second round of the pro-am event on Feb. 3, suffering cardiac arrest on the 11th hole. He received CPR on the course before being taken to Montage Health.
Golf Channel's Todd Lewis later shared that Lukenas was expected to be OK, but now, a month and a half later, we have a better picture of what happened to the amateur's caddie that day.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest claims the lives of nearly 350,000 people in the United States each year. Only about 10% of those who experience these events survive, and Lukenas is now one of those 10%.
After arriving in the ICU, Lukenas was intubated and sedated for a period of time before staff were able to wake him and diagnose him with severe multivessel coronary artery disease (MVD), for which he would need immediate quadruple bypass surgery.
Lukenas' doctor, Gregory S. Spowart, said the man woke up quickly after the surgery and, despite worries about swelling and brain damage, was soon walking in the halls on a ventilator.
"I was in the right place at the right time, and if it happened anywhere else, I wouldn't be here right now," Lukenas said in a press conference this week.
When Lukenas fell on top of himself during the round, Sgt. Kelly Bunn, of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, jumped into action.
Lukenas called Spowart his hero and Bunn his brother.
"The moment I will be most proud of is this moment, watching Leo not be in a hospital bed, being able to walk, talk and move around. There's a lot of emotions right now, but it's just a very proud moment for me to be sitting next to him in the company of all the people that helped him get to this point," Bunn said.
The two men shared a touching moment as Lukenas embraced hands with Bunn and comforted him as he was seen becoming visibly emotional in his recollection of the experience.
"It seems like it was a bad thing that happened to me – it wasn't," Lukenas said. "It was a blessing in disguise. I'm happy that it happened, basically, because I had a problem with my heart, and something was going to go wrong sooner or later."
Lukenas is still in therapy, working on his mobility and speech, among other things, but he's walking up and down stairs (being told to "slow down") and was even able to crack a joke during the press conference, saying his friend, Couch, wouldn't have made the cut at Pebble anyway.
As a thank you to all who helped save Lukenas, his family has made a contribution to the Montage Health Foundation that will fund the purchase of an AED (automated external defibrillator) to be installed at the local First Tee facility.
While Lukenas still has a way to go in his recovery, he's looking forward to taking Sgt. Bunn golfing "for sure" as soon as he is able, and hopefully, he'll make a happy return to Pebble Beach in the years to come.