The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

July 4, 2013

Shawn Wood's Inside Track column: A boy named Phil

In his 28 years of racing, Phil Walter, of McClure, has seen the highs and lows of the sport.

From his eight career 358 sprint car wins at Selinsgrove to returning to the sport from a broken neck, nothing could have prepared him for what happened this past Sunday.

Walter, 47, got a call at 3:30 a.m. from his son 24-year-old son, Phil Walter II.

"He called home and said he didn't feel good and that he was having chest pains and his arm was numb and that he couldn't use it," he said.

Walter's wife, Lori, went to pick up Phil II and realized that going home was not going to be the right thing to do.

She instead took him to the emergency room at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg.

"Luckily, they treated him for a heart attack," Walter said.

And that was the right thing to do.

Walter II suffered a massive heart attack and had a 99 percent blockage of his main artery.

"After the surgery, they said 15 more minutes and he would not be with us," Walter said. "The doctors told us that most of the time when people come in here like that, they don't make it. It has been hard on both Lori and myself."

Walter knew that his son was going to be alright when they entered the operating room after the surgery, where they placed a stint in his heart, one step away from open-heart surgery.

"They were getting ready to wheel him out and we heard the two nurses laughing and giggling and I said to Lori, 'I know he's a awake.' He was in bad shape and he was still able to keep a positive attitude."

Last year, father and son raced in the 358 sprint car division for the first time ever and it just happened that the two were next to each other waiting to be pushed off before the start of the feature. It was something that was not planned.

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