Sarkozy collapses on a jog; tests find nothing

The Associated PressJuly 27, 2009 

— French President Nicolas Sarkozy collapsed while jogging Sunday on the lush grounds of the Chateau of Versailles and was to stay at a hospital overnight, even though tests so far had found nothing wrong, his office said.

Military doctors quickly performed a battery of tests on the 54-year-old president, who is known for his hyperactivity. The presidential Elysee Palace said that Sarkozy's test results were normal but that doctors would keep him under cardiological observation until today.

Upon his collapse, Sarkozy was rushed by helicopter to a military hospital. His office denied the president had lost consciousness in the episode. The Elysee Palace statement followed reports from members of Sarkozy's government and his chief of staff, who had indicated that Sarkozy had lost consciousness.

"Today, late in the morning, while he was jogging in the park at the Chateau of Versailles, the president of the republic felt unwell. This episode, which came after 45 minutes of intense physical activity, was not accompanied by a loss of consciousness," the palace statement said.

Sarkozy, an avid jogger and cyclist, was forced to interrupt his run and "lie down with the help of an aide," the statement said. A presidential doctor who is with Sarkozy at all times sounded the alert and administered initial treatment.

Doctors at the Val de Grace military hospital conducted neurological, blood and cardiological tests as well as an electroencephalogram. Sarkozy, ever mindful of his image, received close advisers Sunday to keep up on the news and was resting, the statement said. A new health bulletin was expected this morning.

"He's doing well. He's hungry. He's grousing, so everything's OK," Patrick Balkany, a close friend and deputy mayor of the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, told RTL radio. Balkany said Sarkozy was on a diet and doing too much. "I hope, moreover, for him, that this is a healthy warning," Balkany added.

French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot, speaking live on French 2 television, said Sarkozy had suffered a "small" vasovagal episode, which can be caused by strenuous exercise when it is very hot. It can lead to a temporary loss of consciousness but usually is not serious.

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