Bellator MMA veteran Cris Lencioni continues to fight his way back after going into cardiac arrest during a training session last month.
Lencioni, 28, is showing signs of improvement since collapsing at his gym on June 8. According to his wife, Marca Lencioni, ‘Sunshine’ took his first steps with the help of physical therapists and is showing improved cognitive function, including laughing at jokes and attempting to communicate despite a tracheostomy that requires a valve to speak.
“He’s making progress really fast,” she said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It’s sheer will and determination.”
Cris Lencioni took his first steps on Sunday since being hospitalized and suffering brain damage as the result of the heart attack on June 8.
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) July 4, 2023
Lencioni was said to have suffered brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain while unconscious, but thanks to the vast improvement he has made in such a short period of time, doctors are no longer deeming it necessary to find a long-term care facility that could cost the uninsured fighter hundreds of thousands of dollars. Marca Lencioni confirmed that doctors now plan to install an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator to insure against any future heart issues in the future.
“He’s still got a while until he’s ready to leave, and we are still looking into alternative treatment options,” she said. “They dropped the [long-term acute care hospital] center after seeing how quickly he was progressing. But it was the same with the defibrillator. At one point they weren’t going to do that for him, because they weren’t sure of where he was cognitively. But he’s young, and he’s doing really well now, so the tune has changed.”
Doctors believe Cris Lencioni may suffer from Long QT Syndrome, a potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder, that allegedly was not detected in a prior routine EKG.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with the ever-growing medical bills. As of this writing, more than $60,000 dollars has been raised, but the bills for Lencioni’s treatment have already exceeded a staggering $300,000.