Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Furniss Sent to ICU after Surgery Complications

After several days of positive news, Craig Furniss, brother of Olympic gold medalist Bruce Furniss, posted an entry on Caring Bridge on Tuesday evening some more sobering news.

On Monday, Bruce Furniss was moved out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and was talking normally and remembering decades-old stories, a positive sign for his neurological state after days of a medically-induced coma. But on Tuesday, after an angiogram and a procedure to insert a defibrillator, Bruce Furniss was returned to the ICU.

From Craig Furniss:

Not a good day.   I just called Bruce who answered with three short phrases:  “I am not doing well.  They are transferring me downstairs (ICU).  Pray for me.”

This morning Bruce had the angiogram which was followed by a procedure to insert a defibrillator.   We were even hoping that he might come home tomorrow.   Sharon heard from the cardiologist tonight and mentioned the transfer to the ICU is likely due to complications from this morning’s surgery.

We believe in the power of prayer (or I would not be posting this).  Please pray for God’s hand on Bruce at this moment.  (6:50 pm).   We should know more tomorrow.   Disappointing and fatiguing to be taking a step back.  Sorry there is not better news but tomorrow is a new day.

Bruce Furniss suffered a major heart attack on Sunday, March 29th, and was put into a medically induced coma as part of a process designed to protect the brain from the impact of a heart attack. Since then, his condition has steadily improved until Tuesday’s setback.

The 62-year-old Furniss won individual gold in the 200 free and a relay gold in the 800 free relay at the 1976 Olympic Games. In his career, he broke 10 world records and 19 American records, and won 11 AAU national titles and six NCAA event titles at USC. All of this came in the context of dealing with a debilitating arthritic condition in his back called ankylosing spondylitis that left him unable to even stand.

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Many prayers out to the family. Hope everything goes well in the coming days.


Hang in there Bruce. Fight On!


If memory serves, Neil Armstrong also had significant complications from defibrillator surgery. Hoping for a more favorable outcome

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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