Tennis star Jessica Pegula, whose family owns the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, said Tuesday that her mother suffered a brain injury after she went into cardiac arrest last year.
Kim Pegula was hospitalized last June after what had vaguely been reported as a serious and unexpected health issue. She has remained out of the public eye since.
The Bills shared a statement from her family in November that asked for privacy.
“Kim is progressing well and is resting and rehabilitating from a health issue,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the medical professionals providing her care and to everyone for their prayers and well wishes.”
The team added, “We ask that you please continue to respect our need for privacy during this time.”
Jessica Pegula wrote in an article published in The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday morning that Kim Pegula went into cardiac arrest and has been on a long road to recovery.
It felt like it was time. Thank you to @PlayersTribune for sharing this story ♥️ https://t.co/dUxiUHaFuk
— Jessie Pegula (@JLPegula) February 7, 2023
“My mom was asleep when my dad woke up to her going into cardiac arrest, and she was unresponsive for quite a while,” Jessica Pegula wrote. “My sister gave her CPR until the ambulance arrived. She saved her life.”
She said her mom spent about a week in an intensive care unit before she was transferred to an in-patient care facility. She is now home. Among other issues, Kim Pegula is struggling with “significant” memory and communication issues.
“She is dealing with significant expressive aphasia and significant memory issues,” the tennis star said of her mother.
“She can read, write, and understand pretty well, but she has trouble finding the words to respond,” Jessica Pegula continued. “It is hard to deal with, and it takes a lot of patience to communicate with her, but I thank God every day that we can still communicate with her at all.”
Jessica Pegula stated her mother’s doctors are “blown away” by her progress, and she attributed the improvement to her “determination” to fight.
She also expressed sadness her mother will likely no longer be able to spread positivity to employees of both franchises the family owns.
“Now we come to the realization that all of that is most likely gone,” Jessica Pegula said. “That she won’t be able to be that person anymore.”
Jessica Pegula said she felt compelled to share her mother’s story after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a game in Cincinnati last month.
The game was canceled after Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. Jessica Pegula was playing tennis in Australia during the incident.
“My stomach sunk because it felt like the exact same thing all over again,” she wrote. “I was sitting on the bench for a tennis event in Sydney, Australia. I wanted to throw up.”
Jessica Pegula wore a patch adorning Hamlin’s No. 3 patch as she competed on the court. But she said the patch was also for her mother.
“It has been a tough year, but at the same time I feel lucky and blessed,” she stated. “I am thankful she is still with us when other families may not have been so lucky. That she even had a chance at recovery when the first week in the hospital seemed so dim.”
Jessica Pegula concluded that she is also grateful for her mother’s medical care and happy she is at home — where she has access to TV.
“She never watched my matches before, because she got too nervous. Now she watches all of them,” she said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.