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Woman, 86, Dies After Hitting Head On Pavement During NYC Marathon

Joy Johnson Insisted On Getting Up And Finishing Race, Died Next Day
Marathon start line in Staten Island (credit: Steve Sandberg)

Marathon start line in Staten Island (credit: Steve Sandberg)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An 86-year-old California woman has died, after she hit her head on the pavement while competing in the ING New York City Marathon this past weekend.

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, Joy Johnson of San Jose, Calf., insisted she could keep going after falling and hitting her head at mile 20. Medics wanted to take her to the hospital, but she insisted on persevering and finished the race.

But a day later, Johnson felt tired and lay down on her bed at her hotel. She never woke up.

Johnson was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday that she died of complications of blunt trauma.

1010 WINS Medical Expert Dr. Brian McDonough said like most marathon runners, Johnson probably had a high pain threshold.

“She was used to dealing with the extreme stresses, and so, something that, if you or I fell and hit our head would probably complaining a lot more than somebody who trains to that level,” McDonough said.

Runners are advised to seek medical attention if they are injured, McDonough said.

“You’re best going to an emergency room and getting a scan of your head,” he said.

The scan can catch internal bleeding that can be treated in numerous ways, McDonough said.

Organizers said Sunday’s race was Johnson’s 25th New York City Marathon.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)