Aug 12, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT
Olympic distance running champion Mo Farah collapsed in a bathroom after a hard training run in Park City, Utah, and was hospitalized for four days last month.
His coach, three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar, said paramedics initially thought Farah was having a heart attack, he told the Oregonian.
“In my mind I’m thinking, ‘Is this like Hank Gathers?'” Salazar told the newspaper. “Is this a heart defect that has been there all along.”
Gathers was a star Loyola Marymount basketball player who collapsed during a game in 1990 and died due to a heart condition.
The Brit Farah, the Olympic and World champion in the 5000m and 10,000m, told the BBC he had a tooth removed before the training run and collapse, and that the area of his mouth had become infected. Unable to eat solid food, he was likely dehydrated and weak, Salazar told the Oregonian.
Farah said he returned from his run and collapsed in a bathroom, “completely knocked out.”
He said his phone was on him, so when Farah woke up, he called his training partner, who helped him into a bed. Farah was taken to a Park City hospital, then airlifted to a Salt Lake City trauma center, according to the Oregonian.
“It was scary at times,” Farah said. “But at the same time, things happen and you deal with it.”
Farah then pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
He is scheduled to run the 5000m and 10,000m at the European Championships in Zurich this week.
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