J. Pegula gives update on mother’s health issue
BUFFALO, New York — After the Pegula family kept Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabers co-owner Kim Pegula’s health information under wraps for more than eight months, Jessica Pegula on Tuesday shared that her mother suffered a cardiac arrest in June 2022 and still is recovering.
Kim Pegula continues to improve every day but is “dealing with significant expressive aphasia and severe memory problems” and while she continues to work hard on her recovery, “where she will end up is still unknown,” wrote Jessica Pegula in essay for The Players’ Tribune which was published on Tuesday. She shared that her mother will most likely not be able to return to her roles in her previous form.
“She can read, write and understand pretty well, but she has a hard time finding the words to respond,” wrote Jessica Pegula, world No. 4 tennis player. “She is difficult to deal with and requires a lot of patience to communicate with her, but I thank God every day that we can still communicate with her. Doctors continue to marvel at her recovery, given where she started. and her determination is the driving force behind that.”
Kim Pegula, 53, is President and CEO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment and President and co-owner of the Bills and Sabers. She is the first woman to be appointed president of both the NFL and the NHL. Pegul has five children, including Jessica, Kelly, Matthew, Michael and Laura.
Kim Pegula advocates for increased diversity in both the NFL and NHL and has served on the NFL’s workplace diversity committee. Pegula served on the NFL’s Super Bowl and Major Events Advisory Committee, Business Ventures Committee, and NFL Foundation Committee, and served as Co-Chair of the NHL’s Executive Inclusion Board.
“She was the woman behind my father’s success and my father would gladly acknowledge that. She jumped on this journey with him and learned many lessons along the way, overcoming many barriers,” wrote Jessica Pegula. “She was a culture shift, positivity and the heartbeat of many employees. She gave everyone so much of her time and effort. She lived it and loved it, and everyone she met felt it. Now we come to the realization that all this is likely gone. That she can no longer be that person.”
Jessica Pegula, 28, shared that her mother was asleep when her father, Bills and Sabers co-owner Terry Pegula, woke up to his wife going into cardiac arrest and that she didn’t respond for a while.
Kelly Pegula was doing CPR on her mother until the ambulance arrived. Kelly Pegula had completed CPR just three months earlier to get the job she wanted.
“I remember [Kelly Pegula] told us what she was doing in our family group chat and my mom even replied, “Good Kells! Now if we have a heart attack, you can revive us,” wrote Jessica Pegula.
She wrote that she received a call from her sister about the situation around midnight on June 7, her mother’s birthday.
The family was in the hospital for about two weeks, staying with her. About a week later, Kim Pegula was transferred from the intensive care unit to an inpatient facility, where she was conscious and able to speak.
“After a long two weeks, she was in good shape to start a recovery that we knew would take a very, very long time,” wrote Jessica Pegula. “My three best friends are doctors, and after the situation calmed down, they told me that it was a miracle that she was on the road to recovery at all, like all the other doctors who worked with her.”
Account Security Damar Hamlin also suffered a cardiac arrest during the team’s first quarter of the regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, and he also continues to improve on his road to recovery. He recently made a video thanking everyone for their support. She wrote that during the 2023 Australian Open, Jessica Pegula, then ranked 3rd, wore the #3 patch for both Hamlin and her mum.
Jessica Pegula shared that her mom, who “loved to work,” always wanted her to be involved in managing the Bills and Sabers and ended up taking her place after her tennis career ended. In January, the Sabers hired John Roth as chief operating officer who will take over day-to-day business operations.
It has been a difficult year for the private family to go through something like this publicly, but she thanked the Buffalo community for their patience, for everyone continuing to respect the family’s privacy, and for all the support.
“It’s been a tough year, but at the same time, I feel happy and blessed. I’m grateful she’s still with us when other families may not be as lucky,” she wrote. “That she even had a chance of recovery when the first week in the hospital seemed so lackluster. I am grateful to the doctors who helped her recover. She never watched my matches before because she was too nervous. Now she watches them all.”