Tennis star Jessica Pegula said her mother, Bills co-owner, needed CPR in June after cardiac arrest

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Professional tennis Jessica Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula, said her sister saved her mother’s life after she went into cardiac arrest. Kim Pegula, 53 years old, went into cardiac arrest last June in the family’s home in Florida.

Jessica Pegula, who recently competed in the Australian Open and is ranked No. 4 in the world Women’s Singles, shared the information in an article she wrote in The Players’ Tribute on Tuesday. She wrote that watching Bills safety Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest was a “bizarre, messed-up, full circle moment.”

According to the article, her dad woke up and found her mother in cardiac arrest and unresponsive. Kelly Pegula, her sister, performed CPR to save her mother as paramedics were on the way to restore her heartbeat.

“Even though she doesn’t like to take credit for this terrible situation, she absolutely saved her life,” Jessica Pegula said of her sister.

Kelly recently had to become certified in CPR for a job. Her sister recalls that in a group chat, Kelly told family members that she was taking a test to become certified and her mother responded “Nice Kells! Now if we have a heart attack you can revive us.” That’s exactly what she did, working to restore the heartbeat of the Fairport native.

Emergency crews took Kim Pegula to the hospital and the family “lived in that hospital for basically two weeks” and spend the first week in intensive care. She was eventually discharged and continues to recover.

In the article, Jessica says her mother has been improving every day but struggles with memory issues and aphasia.

“She has trouble finding the words to respond. 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,” she said. “The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery, considering where she started, and her determination is the driving force of that.”

Months after Kim Pegula’s health emergency, Damar Hamlin also suffered a cardiac arrest during a game on Jan. 2 at the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin was also placed in intensive care and eventually discharged.

Jessica said she was in Sydney for the Australian Open when she saw Hamlin faint.

“My stomach sunk because it felt like the exact same thing all over again,” she said. “I was sitting on the bench for a tennis event in Sydney, Australia. I wanted to throw up. I was supposed to go on for mixed doubles in 15 minutes and I remember telling one of my teammates, ‘I am a little freaked out right now, this is too close to home, and I feel like I am going to have a panic attack.’ Again, I usually don’t get too much anxiety, but the thought of what Damar and his family were about to go through hurt my heart.”

Jessica said she feels blessed that her mom is alive and thanked the Buffalo community for their patience in learning about her mother’s health.