‘Nothing’s guaranteed’: Georgetown coach shares gratitude after heart attack at practice

Trey Henderson, 39, poses with his family, including his sons — 6-year-old Corbin and 10-year-old Claytor — and his wife, Summers Henderson. (WTOP/Kristi King)

A Georgetown University coach who had a heart attack during football practice is now sharing his perspective after the near-death experience.

“Don’t take anything for granted,” said assistant football coach Trey Henderson.

The 39-year-old was passing the ball around with players on Sept. 3 when he collapsed without a pulse. While lifeless on the ground, staff members around Henderson sprang into action and started giving him CPR. They got out the AED and administered shocks.

By the time D.C. Fire and EMS responded, Henderson was conscious and alert.

“I’m truly blessed to be standing here before everyone today,” Henderson said at a gathering Tuesday to present “Cardiac Arrest Save Coins” to all who were involved in saving his life.

“I’m truly blessed to be standing here before everyone today,” Henderson said at a gathering to present “Cardiac Arrest Save Coins” to all who were involved in saving his life. (WTOP/Kristi King)

He thanked everyone for the teamwork that will allow him to continue to be with his wife, Summers Henderson, and raise “two wonderful boys.”

“I’m grateful today because I’m able to play catch with him,” said his 10-year-old son, Claytor Henderson.

“I’ve got to catch the ball better,” Trey Henderson said as laughter erupted in the room.

Henderson also said he was looking forward to be able to still play “with one of the best 6-year-olds at hide-and-seek in the nation,” to talk sports with his brothers, and to tell his parents “that I love them.”

As a former athlete who felt he could overcome anything, Henderson said he probably took his diet for granted.

“And, I did not listen to my body. There were signs of fatigues or shortness of breath that I’d never had in my life that were showing up, and I ignored them,” Henderson said.

He wants anyone who might be experiencing atypical physical symptoms to go to a doctor to get them checked out. “You may not be as lucky as I was to be in the situation to have the staff and support there to make sure you get to see the next day,” Henderson said.

It’s said that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and the Georgetown coaching staff certainly was prepared that fateful day. Every year, Georgetown’s coaches get recertified in CPR and AED use.

At the news conference, D.C. Assistant Medical Director Ryan Gerecht urged everyone to learn CPR. “It’s a fact. Early bystander CPR greatly increases the chance for survival and positive outcome for cardiac arrest victims,” Gerecht said.

Henderson said he is glad to know CPR and get recertified every year.

Returning to his theme of not taking anything for granted anymore: “Nothing’s guaranteed in life,” Henderson said. “Me waking up this morning, there was no guarantee that was going to happen.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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