Irving Man Thaws Out From Medical Deep Freeze

Doctors placed him in hypothermic coma after his heart stopped in freak softball mishap

Twenty-one-year-old Austin Miller is lucky.

His heart stopped on the softball field after he ran into a teammate during a pop fly late last month.

His teammate said the collision was more like a bump, but EMS crews and doctors had to shock his heart back to life 15 times.

Then came the hard part.

Dr. Gary Jones, of Texas Health HEB, decided to put Miller in a hypothermic coma.

"When we lowered his body temperature, it allows his brain to get past  the point of injury and then hopefully recover, but it's all cooling to protect the brain," Jones said.

Miller was covered with a vest and pads filled with ice-cold water. Then doctors and nurses started putting an ice-cold saline drip into his blood stream.

The goal was to drop his body temperature form 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 91 degrees in just an hour to protect the brain. 

"It's the equivalent of jumping into a cold pool in January and staying there 10 minutes," Jones said.

The treatment worked.

Miller is now up and walking, but he's having to relearn some simple things.

"I can write now, but I can't really write in cursive anymore," he said. "I'm trying to figure that out on a daily basis. And driving -- I have to learn how to drive again. I'm not sure I can do that, but I haven't really tried, so I don't know."

Miller said is almost back to his old self, and he's looking forward to going back to work.

"I'm looking forward to going back and being with my old compadres and getting some stuff accomplished," he said.

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