Jessica Pegula has relived the trauma she suffered during the Australian tennis summer when a Buffalo Bills player went into cardiac arrest, which mirrored the experience of her mother.

Pegula revealed her mother Kim, co-owner and president of NFL franchise Buffalo Bills and NHL hockey team Buffalo Sabres, is dealing with significant language and memory issues after going into cardiac arrest in June 2022 and nearly dying.

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The shock of that night was brought back to her when Bills’ Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during the January 2 game in Cincinnati in what Pegula described as “some bizarre, messed-up, full circle moment”.

“My stomach sunk because it felt like the exact same thing all over again. I was sitting on the bench for a tennis event in Sydney, Australia. I wanted to throw up,” Pegula wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune published on Tuesday.

“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’.”

Pegula was preparing to play a United Cup mixed doubles match with Francis Tiafoe for USA against Germany. The world No.4 won that match, and subsequently the whole event.

As Hamlin began his recovery, Pegula joined in an outpouring of support from fans and the NFL and wore a white screen-printed patch with Hamlin’s uniform number while playing at the Australian Open, during which she reached the quarter-finals of the singles and the semi-finals of the women’s doubles.

“It didn’t feel like it was just for him, it felt like it was for my mum as well,” she wrote.

Jessica Pegula at the Australian Open last month. Credit: Robert Prange/Getty Images

The 28-year-old said her mother went into cardiac arrest while sleeping and received lifesaving CPR from another daughter until paramedics arrived and restored her heartbeat.

Jessica had been home in Florida when she got a call from her sister, Kelly, about midnight on their mother’s 53rd birthday and learned that their mother was being rushed to the hospital.

“My mum was asleep when my dad woke up to her going into cardiac arrest and she was unresponsive for quite a while,” she wrote.

Kelly, who was staying with their parents, performed CPR — just three months after telling her family that she planned to become certified in the procedure for a job.

“I remember her telling us what she was doing in our family group chat,” Jessica wrote, “and my mum even responded, ‘Nice Kells! Now if we have a heart attack you can revive us’.”

Buffalo Bills owner and mother of tennis star Jessica, Kim Pegula. Credit: Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Today, Kim Pegula “can read, write, and understand pretty well, but she has trouble finding the words to respond,” Jessica wrote. “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. The doctors continue to be blown away by her recovery, considering where she started, and her determination is the driving force of that.”

As the first woman to serve as president of an NHL and NFL team at the same time, Kim Pegula “lived it and loved it, and it was felt by everyone she met,” Jessica Pegula wrote. “Now we come to the realisation that all of that is most likely gone. That she won’t be able to be that person anymore.”

– With AAP

Legendary Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney awarded life membership of the AFL.

Legendary Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney awarded life membership of the AFL.