NORMAN, Okla. – Racing cars is often associated with racing hearts.
The sport is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline going.
But, for one Norman driver – his heart was what sidelined him, temporarily. He was once at risk for sudden death – but determined to get back in action.
From the age of 6 – Bryce Cornet has had a special spot in his heart for racing. Starting out in the cart racing ranks, he worked his way up to open wheel and car racing.
But, things took a turn one day at the age of 15.
Bryce was sitting in class, and his heart began to slow.
“And, I thought I was having a heart attack,” he said. “I didn’t really know what that felt like.”
Bryce’s parents rushed him to the hospital.
“I was diagnosed with two heart abnormalities, Wolf Parkinson White and supraventricular tachycardia,” he said.
Both conditions put Bryce at risk for sudden death.
In the E.R., Bryce’s parents were told everyone he would be in contact with needed to know CPR just in case.
“It was very shocking to realize that it was such a serious situation,” his mother, Kim, said.
For 2-3 months, Bryce was on a heart monitor before surgery.
“They put him on a medication, but we were terrified, and we were constantly watching him and they had him on a 24-hour monitor until they could get him in,” said his father, Jimmy Cornet.
His story is now being told in a documentary called ‘Driven – the Bryce Cornet Story.’ Hearing his parents speak about his story is emotional for the now 25-year-old.
“Really puts into perspective for me how much my parents went through when I was 15,” he said.
Bryce underwent surgery and was cleared to slowly start racing again about a year later. His health was the last thing on his mind. He wanted to be on the track.
“So, really, there was no fear for me getting back,” he said.
Due to health concerns and the cost of medical bills, it wasn’t until last year that Bryce got to race year-round again.
“I had four track records, won 11 of 13 races,” he said. “Won the national title, and won a separate championship series as well. For me, racing is like riding a bike. You get back into it and, after a few sessions back on the track, you’re kind of in the groove again.”
Bryce’s goals include to race Indy Car, and he works for a local company that works with electric vehicle batteries – so Formula E – the electric racing series – is very much on the table. His biggest obstacle is the funds it takes to get there.
You can watch Bryce’s documentary here.