A Gwinnett police recruit who died after experiencing a medical emergency during training on Tuesday had an existing heart condition that may have caused his death, according the county’s medical examiner.

Dr. Carol Terry said there are still some tests that her office is awaiting results on, so a final report on the cause of the death for police recruit Ronald Donat, 41, may not be ready for a month. The early results, however, point to an enlarged heart being a contributing factor, she said.

“We’ve got some testing outstanding but, preliminarily, it looks like he died as a result of his hypertensive heart disease,” Terry said. “He had an enlarged heart so, like I said, we’ve got some additional testing outstanding, including looking at tissues under the microscope, but preliminarily his heart was enlarged and that’s what it sounds like happened. He basically had a heart attack.”

Gwinnett police previously said Donat, who was a resident of Stockbridge, began experiencing medical issues during a physical training course at about 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday. He had just completed a pull-up portion of the training when he came lethargic and started to have issues, according to police officials.

He later died at a local hospital. It was his second day at the Gwinnett Police Training Academy.

On Tuesday, police said recruits undergo a medical evaluation and have to be cleared prior to starting at the academy. They said at the time that they did not have information on his medical history available at that time.

“(It appears it was) just physical exertion,” Terry said. “It’s shocking when it happens to someone that young, but unfortunately that’s what my office sees.”

On Tuesday, Gwinnett police officials said the department was evaluating its training standards and would ensure that “all recruits and pre-recruits follow their medical screening.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

(2) comments




RIP Officer Donit. RIP.

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