James is back on the basketball court after sudden cardiac arrest

Feb 15, 2024
Thanks to his implantable cardioverter defibrillator, James can shoot hoops again.
Thanks to his implantable cardioverter defibrillator, James can shoot hoops again.

“I love basketball,” says James Sommer. “It took up 80 to 90 percent of my time in high school and college.”

That is, until the unthinkable happened: He collapsed on the court during practice.

Two of his teammates jumped in right away to administer CPR on Sommer; nevertheless, he was considered dead for seven minutes until he was revived.

His doctors couldn’t explain why a healthy young man like Sommer could have experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) – a life-threatening event in which the heart stops beating. But they could recommend a device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) that could assist in preventing one from occurring again in the future.

The journey back to the court

After weighing the pros and cons with his family, Sommer ultimately opted to receive the Boston Scientific RESONATE™ Extended Longevity ICD, in part because of its record of success and safety on the market. The device, which is implanted in his chest, detects and treats abnormally fast ventricular heart rhythms and sends the information to his medical team. The device is also capable of pacing — or delivering controlled pulses to mimic a desired rhythm — if Sommer needs it. Unless he experiences another cardiac event, he may not need another procedure for more than 15 years due to the device’s long battery life.

As a result of his experience, Sommer decided to enroll in nursing school. And he still makes time for basketball.

“With RESONATE,” he says, “I can shoot hoops and run without thinking, Am I gonna die? I’m grateful that’s no longer a fear.”

Watch Sommer’s moving video here: 


Learn more about how Boston Scientific's groundbreaking technologies monitor and treat irregular heart rhythms, heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.