Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019
FAYETTEVILLE– Chris Bucknam, head coach of the University of Arkansas men’s cross country and track and field teams, and his distance runners were huddled around a laptop on Saturday watching a broadcast of the 3,000 meters at the Millrose Games.
The Razorbacks were at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport waiting to fly home after competing in the Husky Invitational, and the race in New York had special interest to them because five-time Arkansas All-American Kemoy Campbell was serving as the pace-setter.
But the fun of watching a former Razorback run in a marquee event quickly turned to concern when Campbell took himself off the track after 1,000 meters and collapsed.
Campbell, 28, received emergency medical assistance from personnel at the track for about 30 minutes and then was taken to New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
Sports Illustrated reported Campbell had been placed in a medically-induced coma, was breathing with assistance and undergoing a series of tests.
“It was shocking to watch it happen,” Bucknam said of seeing Campbell collapse during a live broadcast. “You just have tremendous concern.
“It’s like watching it happen to your son and daughter, but then you can’t do anything about it, because you’re not there.
“Just a very tough thing to see. But we know he’s at a world-class hospital and that’s comforting.”
Campbell’s family released a statement Monday that read:
“Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers for Kemoy. We really appreciate all of the love and support we have been getting.
“Kemoy’s condition has not changed much. He is still sedated so that his body can rest. The doctors are some of the best in the world and are keeping us constantly updated.
“If there is an appropriate time and we know anything further, we will issue another statement. Thank you for respecting Kemoy’s privacy throughout this difficult time.”
Campbell, a native of Jamaica who transferred to Arkansas from South Plains (Texas) Community College, finished second in the 3,000 at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to clinch the team title for the Razorbacks at the UA’s Randal Tyson Center.
“Kemoy helped us win a national championship and a lot of conference championships,” Bucknam said. “He just had a phenomenal career.
“He’s a great competitor. He never backed down. He’d run anything I asked him to run. He was a team guy. He did some great things for us.”
Campbell competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero for Jamaica in the 5,000 and in the 2017 World Championships.
“I’m so proud of him and what he’s accomplished after college,” Bucknam said. “Being an Olympian is such a huge deal.”
Campbell now trains with the Reebok Boston Track Club.
“I’ve gotten some messages, but I can’t speculate on what happened to Kemoy,” Bucknam said. “We just hope he has a speedy recovery and the doctors can figure out what happened and he can get back to running again.”
Sports on 02/12/2019