Seventeen-year-old Zack Clements seemed to be a perfectly healthy young teen with his whole life ahead of him—but on May 5, 2015, that all changed.
After passing out and experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest during football practice, he landed in the hospital where he was declared clinically dead for 20 minutes. Though it tends to be the concussions and major bone breaks that catch the public eye, most people don’t know that sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) are actually the number one cause of death for teen athletes, particularly males.
After Zack came back to consciousness, his mom captured a miracle moment on camera that reveals why her boy is still here today, and it leaves no reasonable answer but God. Listen as Zack explains who he met on the “other side” of his 20-minute journey as he lay in the hospital bed without a pulse …
“I realized it was Jesus,” the Brownwood, Texas, teen told PEOPLE as he described the man he saw with long ruffled hair standing in the middle of a line of white angels. “He put his hand on my shoulder and told me that everything was going to be all right,” he added. “It made me feel like someone was watching over me and I was going to get through it. Since it happened, I feel like I’m a stronger person.”
Since Zack opened up about his experience that his mom Teresa captured on film, the family has been overwhelmed with both criticism and praise for sharing their story.
“We’ve had people say he’s lying, or that we gave him a pill before school that day so it would look like he’d gone into cardiac arrest,” said his dad, Billy Clements. “People can argue science and logic, but they can’t argue somebody’s personal experience. They can’t take that away from Zack.”
And it turns out that near-death experiences may not be so anti-scientific after all. A report by the Inquisitr cites a study of 2,600 people suffering from cardiac arrest, and the results reflected that “46 percent of them recall real events that occurred during surgery after being declared medically dead.”
One of the cardiologists who treated Zack, Dr. Lisa Roten, said Zack was “legally dead for 20 minutes” and she was “worried he may have suffered irreversible brain damage.”
“As a society, we don’t like to look at what’s going to happen to us after we die,” she said.
“It’s an uncomfortable thing,” said Roten. “But somebody who is not clinically dead or has not been in that state cannot say what Zack did or did not see. He is somebody who, for 20 minutes, didn’t have a heartbeat.”
Doctors are baffled that Zack not only recovered without brain damage, but also that he has been restored to full health, as though the cardiac arrest never even happened.
Even Zack’s principal, Gary Day, attests that there is no other explanation for what happened to Zack. As a witness, he called it one of the “gravest” situations he had seen when the boy was rushed to the hospital. Day says he doesn’t have a doubt that the teen “had a visitation from the Lord in such a way that he was able to verbalize it. I’m saying, with the spirit-man within him. There’s no doubt in my mind he had an encounter with Jesus.”
Praise God for stepping in to save His child, even when science can’t explain it. Where there is no way, He makes a way—and Zack is living proof.
Zack isn’t sure why he got this second chance at life, but he sure plans to live it to the fullest. He says the “overwhelming” experience has made him more humble. “I’m happy to be here,” he added with a smile.