"So you don't think it can happen to you...think again."
Teddy Okerstrom of Wayzata was participating in his school's summer conditioning program,
when he collapsed out on the football field. One of his coaches responded to the emergency
and began performing CPR while a teammate rushed to bring the AED onto the field. His coaches
continued CPR and used the AED to shock Teddy's heart back into normal rhythm just as the ambulance
was arriving on the scene. Teddy was rushed to the hospital where he was stabilized and, during
his weeklong stay, had a cardiac defibrillator implanted in his chest that monitors his heart and
will provide a life-saving shock if needed. Doctors still don't know why this happened to Teddy,
but due to the quick thinking and life-saving actions of his coaches, school staff members and
teammates, he is doing very well today.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest in MN Athletes
During a home hockey game against Winona in January of 2008, Faribault junior forward Alex Larson blocked a slapshot with one minute to play. As he went down, his padding slid into a precise position so that the puck was able to hit his chest at the precise time to stop his heart. It was a one in a million chance: commodio cordis - a sudden blunt impact to the heart at precisely the wrong time. After falling, getting up, trying to skate to the bench and then falling again, the coach, Josh Solem, and trainer, Bryan Voracek, both went out to the ice. Alex's eyes rolled back, he had trouble breathing and lost consciousness. The trainer had a portable AED with him and started hooking it up. It was placed on Alex, but before they actually needed to administer the shock, his heart started up again. An ambulance arrived shortly after, and Alex was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester. He stayed for approximately three or four days recovering from a bruised heart and left lung. He didn't need an internal defibrillator placed into his chest, because it was just a freak timing accident - not a heart defect of any type. He was able to play hockey again at the end of the season, four weeks later, and scored a goal in his first game back on the ice. Alex was chosen to serve as team captain his senior year.
While the trainer had a portable AED on hand, there is also one in the ice arena, and they have one inside their gym doors, as well. Ken stresses that while it's important to have the AEDs, it's equally important to make sure the battery is new, to make sure it is being maintained properly, to make sure it meets current protocol, etc.. Within their district, the nursing coordinator is in charge of maintaining the AED units.
In Memory Of Jarrett Brenner
Jarrett Brenner was an all-conference, all-section athlete from Cohasset. At his basketball game halftime, Jarrett slumped over into his teammate's lap and never regained consciousness. Many critical steps that can help ensure survival from sudden cardiac arrest did not happen that night. Valuable minutes were wasted before 911 was called. CPR was eventually started many minutes after Jarrett collapsed. The school had just purchased automated external defibrillators (AEDs), but they were not deployed yet and were locked in an office. Jarrett did not survive.
On September 17, 2008 while participating in a pick-up basketball game, Cannon Falls junior Michael Spillman suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) without warning. Michael had been playing during the school's open gym session when he unexpectedly began to walk toward the on-site supervisor, Ross Peterson. Before reaching Peterson, an elementary school physical education teacher, Michael collapsed onto the court.
Along with Peterson, two student-athletes who were at the open gym responded to the emergency, senior Joel Willenbring and sophomore Demetre Growette. Joel, a certified lifeguard who had been trained in emergency procedures, recalls a feeling of disbelief during the initial moments of the incident as they all went into action immediately. The trio began CPR, yet Michael remained unresponsive. Meanwhile, other players who were in the gym called 911, and the school janitor retrieved the automated external defibrillator (AED). A First Responder arrived at the scene, placed the AED pads on Michael's chest and used it to shock his heart back into normal rhythm. Michael was air-lifted from Cannon Falls High School and woke up while in the helicopter.
During his stay at Children's Hospital in St. Paul, Michael was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition which results in a thickening of the heart wall, and received a pacemaker. Michael was able to work with the school's basketball team and play on the baseball team thanks to the easily accessible AED and the quick response of his rescuers.
On December 13, 2007, basketball official Dale Wakasugi collapsed on the court during the second half of a Fridley home basketball game. Fridley junior Lindsey Paradise, who had been trained in CPR and defibrillator use in both high school gym class and through her role in the local Police Explorers program, ran out of the stands and supported Dale's head from hitting the court during a seizure. At the conclusion of the seizure, Lindsey and three other individuals, including two nurses, performed four rounds of CPR. Dale still didn't regain a pulse so they decided to use the defibrillator. Athletic Director Dan Roff ran to his office to get an AED, but meanwhile someone had already gotten the one that's mounted on the wall by the gym entrance (which was put in two or three years ago, and is alarmed). Lindsay and one of the other individuals placed the AED pads on Dale, and they checked for a pulse before administering the shock. They administered the shock, and Dale was breathing and had a heartbeat by the time the paramedics arrived to transport him to the hospital. The doctors told Dale that CPR alone would not have been enough to save him; he truly did need the AED. Lindsay has received much recognition, and quite a few awards. Dale and Lindsay were both honored at a Fridley High School basketball game later in the winter.
Teddy Okerstrom of Wayzata was participating in his school's summer conditioning program, when he collapsed out on the football field. One of his coaches responded to the emergency and began performing CPR while a teammate rushed to bring the AED onto the field. His coaches continued CPR and used the AED to shock Teddy's heart back into normal rhythm just as the ambulance was arriving on the scene. Teddy was rushed to the hospital where he was stabilized and, during his weeklong stay, had a cardiac defibrillator implanted in his chest that monitors his heart and will provide a life-saving shock if needed. Doctors still don't know why this happened to Teddy, but due to the quick thinking and life-saving actions of his coaches, school staff members and teammates, he is doing very well today.