Watch

After Collapsing on the Ice, This Hockey Player Found a New Passion

Published:
January 29, 2024
April 11, 2019
This hockey player learned how to deal with things beyond his control after he was forced to retire early.

Retirement came early for Providence College hockey player Garrett Gamez after he collapsed in a game and was diagnosed with sustained ventricular arrhythmias. Although he could no longer play, the team invited him to work as a team assistant — and he found a passion for coaching.

Video production credit: Providence College

Senior Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations: Mike Billings

Athletic Video Coordinator: Nick Rojas

Video Transcript

Narrator: In the back of most athletes’ minds are the thoughts of retirement, the time when he or she will make the decision to hang them up and walk away from the sport they love. Unfortunately for Garrett Gamez, that decision was made for him last year when hockey’s playoff game during his sophomore season ended with him collapsing on the bench due to a heart condition.

Garrett Gamez: It's called sustained ventricular arrhythmias. The game obviously against Notre Dame was the first time that I realized that I had something like this. I had felt it the night before. I was in the hospital for 12 days before I came to Providence as a freshman. That stuff was a bit hard to find out when we have no evidence of anything happening until just now. The first time that I realized, it was the game when I did collapse.

Narrator: In one of the toughest two days of his life, Garrett still found a silver lining to an otherwise grim situation.

Garrett Gamez: After the collapse, it was honestly, I think it was the best situation I could've had given the circumstances. Mr. Driskell actually came with me in the ambulance to the hospital. He stayed with me until after the game where Kyle Murphy came, and he stayed with me overnight. I also had a family that was watching that was my billet family when I was playing juniors in Nebraska. They were able to come to the hospital with me and be able to talk to my parents.

Narrator: After a few months of testing and waiting, late in the summer, Garrett made the difficult choice.

Garrett Gamez: We knew all along that was the problem. It was just were they happening more than I wanted them to, and if so, is this something that has concerns over my health, over my life? On August 7, that's when I made the decision to retire.

Narrator: Retirement may have come easier to Garrett after head coach Nate Leaman told him that there was still a spot for him in Friartown.

Garrett Gamez: After making that decision, I gave him a call up, and he just told me, he goes, "You're making the right decision and the best decision for your life and for your family." Then, he's like well, now, you're going to be working with [Teriso a lot, and us and you're going to sit in on all the meetings and stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it, doing video with Teriso or talking to the team, talking with the coaches. It's been a big eye opener to me as well, seeing the coaching side and seeing how many different aspects come into having a successful organization. That's been pretty awesome to see.

Narrator: Garrett is on track to graduate from Providence with an accounting and finance degree. While he has considered a career in accounting before his incident, this brief stint in coaching has his interest peaked.

Garrett Gamez: It's one of the things where we at some point in our lives always think, what are we going to do after hockey? I've always thought I want to pursue accounting, I'm going to pursue finance. Now having this little jump back and looking at this, it has inspired me a little bit to get into coaching or something like that, or if not, I know I'll have a great degree in finance and accounting to stand back on and pursue accounting.

Narrator: Over the course of one summer, he went from being Garrett the teammate to Garrett the assistant coach. For him, the transition has given him the opportunity to stop focusing on his own game and focus on helping others improve theirs.

Garrett Gamez: I try to do it mostly in a friendly nature. I'm not going to be here telling the guys you need to do this, you need to do that. If someone does need a talking to, I'm sure coach is there to do that. With that being said, it's been a good time. I've been able to really look at guys play and maybe give them tips on stuff where when you're playing, you're just focus on yourself. Watching guys on the ice and obviously seeing what they do, I can give them tips and stuff to help them or tell them what coach is looking for more or be that soft guidance to help them with whatever they need help with.

Narrator: While graduation is still off in the distance, Garrett has ideas for how he plans to handle his post Providence College career. For this decision, much like many others in his life, he's looking for guidance from above.

Garrett Gamez: Well, I'm engaged, so I'll be married. Just trying to get our life started and the stuff like that and really either coaching or working in the business field somewhere. It's either one of the two ways. I'm praying a lot about it saying God, what do you want me to do next? And leaving it at that for now.

Narrator: For Friars All Access, I'm Nick Rojas.

Creators:
Grotto Shares
Published:
January 29, 2024
April 11, 2019
On a related note...
Retreat Center Focuses on Volunteering in Community | Little Ways: Retreat

Retreat Center Focuses on Volunteering in Community | Little Ways: Retreat

Grotto

Catholic Relief Services Holiday Gift Guide

Catholic Relief Services Holiday Gift Guide

Grotto Shares

How St. Oscar Romero Changed My Life

How St. Oscar Romero Changed My Life

Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg

Navigating Friendships with Coworkers? Keep These 4 Things in Mind

Navigating Friendships with Coworkers? Keep These 4 Things in Mind

Stephanie DePrez

Owning Their Own Future: Ownership is the New Black

Owning Their Own Future: Ownership is the New Black

Grotto

3 Tips for Overcoming Toxic Productivity in Work Life

3 Tips for Overcoming Toxic Productivity in Work Life

LuElla D'Amico

8 Essentials for Setting Up Your Home Bar

8 Essentials for Setting Up Your Home Bar

Ken Hallenius

How and Why Slow Living Makes You Happier

How and Why Slow Living Makes You Happier

Sophie Caldecott

8 Ways We Can Join the Fight to Help the Earth

8 Ways We Can Join the Fight to Help the Earth

Lauren Fritz

Holding Onto God’s Unfailing Love — Even Through Terminal Illness

Holding Onto God’s Unfailing Love — Even Through Terminal Illness

Catherine Griffin

St. Justin Martyr Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

St. Justin Martyr Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

4 Points of Common Ground When it Comes to Abortion

4 Points of Common Ground When it Comes to Abortion

Renée Roden

"Tinsel, Frankincense, and Fir"

"Tinsel, Frankincense, and Fir"

Dana Gioia

"Bike Man" Has Kept His Community Moving for Decades

"Bike Man" Has Kept His Community Moving for Decades

Grotto

How I Took the Leap to Become an Entrepreneur

How I Took the Leap to Become an Entrepreneur

Erica Tighe Campbell

My Hollywood Dreams Were Coming True, But I Still Felt Empty

My Hollywood Dreams Were Coming True, But I Still Felt Empty

Tanner Kalina

5 Lifestyle Instas that Will Inspire (Not Depress) You

5 Lifestyle Instas that Will Inspire (Not Depress) You

Gabriella Patti

“Leaving Behind What We Think We Want”

“Leaving Behind What We Think We Want”

Christian Santa Maria

A First-Timer’s Guide to Taxes

A First-Timer’s Guide to Taxes

Joshua Mazrin

Meet the Present (& Future) Saints of Synod 2018

Meet the Present (& Future) Saints of Synod 2018

Grotto Shares

newsletter

We’d love to be pals.

Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll meet you in your inbox each week.