Family hopeful for Samboy

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Family hopeful for Samboy
Samboy Lim
Philstar.com / File

MANILA, Philippines — It’s been over eight years since PBA legend Samboy Lim fell into a coma for five weeks after collapsing on the bench during an exhibition basketball game at Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig due to cardiac arrest and while he is wheelchair-bound unable to speak and see, his loved ones remain hopeful of recovery. Lim turned 61 last Saturday with family and friends celebrating his life with a Holy Mass in Wack Wack.

Former PBA stars Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio, Norman Black, Jojo Lastimosa and Hector Calma joined the gathering with NCAA commissioner Tonichi Pujante and Engineer Robert Evangelista. Lim’s former wife Lelen Berberabe, who has taken care of the Skywalker from Day 1, hosted the private affair. In November 2014, Lim was brought to Medical City by Patrimonio after losing consciousness and was admitted in emergency without a pulse. Lim was revived and placed on therapeutic hypothermia for 48 hours to prevent more seizures.

Lim’s daughter Jamie couldn’t attend as she’s enrolled in a Business Analytics course at Imperial College in London. Jamie, 25, won a gold medal in the +61kg class of women’s kumite at the 2019 SEA Games. “She works out twice a day and once a week, visits a dojo about an hour’s drive away from campus,” said Berberabe. Jamie will take a brief leave from school to join the national karate team’s training camp in Turkey starting tomorrow and compete in the -61kg division at the Cambodia SEA Games.

Two nurses alternate round-the-clock with Lim who undergoes physical and occupational therapy once a week. He is fed blended food through a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) and has a trache inserted in the throat to relieve airway obstruction, facilitate mechanical ventilation and remove secretions. Cardiologist Dr. Luigi Segundo supervises Lim’s medical treatment. During the Legends’ visit, Lim displayed signs of recognition, slightly opening both eyes and smiling. The Legends took turns reminding Lim the hardcourt is waiting for his return. Berberabe said Lim’s skin tone is a glow and muscles stay defined. Nutritionists recently cut down his 2,500 calorie intake to 2,100 to control his weight. She said through then Rep. Yeng Guiao’s efforts, the Samboy Lim Law was passed in 2016 requiring CPR lessons at the high school level nationwide. Implementation will depend on a budget but Berberabe said the Department of Education has accepted the addition to the curriculum. Lim was not given CPR when he passed out and it’s a key reason for his condition as his brain was deprived of oxygen for close to 30 minutes. Berberabe said Lim’s legacy to the country is embodied in the law.

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