GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM)– A couple of Garland High School coaches are credited with helping to save a player’s life after he collapsed during an indoor drill last week.
It turns out, the student had an undiagnosed heart problem. Doctors at Medical City Children’s Hospital implanted a defibrillator in his chest Wednesday. Now, everyone is breathing easier.
By all accounts, Richard Young was healthy. He was 15-years-old. He was a freshman on the Garland High School football team, #82.
So, it was a shock when he collapsed during an indoor drill at school last Wednesday, April 18th.
It happened around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. He and his teammates were just beginning their conditioning exercises when Richard collapsed.
Teammates were the first to see Richard fall. They alerted a coach.
Coach Jeff Middleton remembers thinking, “It looked like he was having a seizure.”
He wasn’t. His heart stopped pumping – the result of a rare, previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect.
Scott Smith, the school’s Athletic Trainer said, “And then, he almost acted like he wasn’t breathing at all.”
“That was a scary point. When you’re sitting there looking at a young teenage kid who’s supposed to be in good physical condition, laying on the ground not breathing,” Coach Middleton said.
The coaches performed CPR on Richard and brought over the school’s Automated External Defibrillator. The machine was still analyzing Richard when the paramedics arrived.
“It’s one of those deals where you hope it doesn’t happen to you. Hopefully, you’re prepared when it does happen,” Coach Smith said.
Richard doesn’t remember much. He only knows this.
“They said I almost died. So, I feel kind of blessed,” he said.
His mother, Tina Young, does too.
“They said it could have easily happened when he was asleep, when he was at home playing with his dad or with one of his sisters or even being with me. We could’ve been at the grocery store somewhere and it could’ve happen. So, I’m
thankful it happened the way it did and at the time that it did.”
To keep it from happening again, doctors at Medical City Children’s Hospital implanted a defibrillator inside his chest.
“It makes contact with the heart muscle itself and then it provides a little bit of an electrical stimulus if it senses an abnormal heart rhythm,” Dr. Stromberg said.
Dr. Stromberg said they’re looking at two things in particular that may have caused the problem.
“One is a heart rhythm problem or a problem with the conduction system or the electrical system of the heart. And, the other is a primary heart muscle problem,” Dr. Stromberg said.
Richard should be back on his feet in about a week.
“It’ll be a good day to see him walking the halls at school,” Coach Middleton said.
Coach Smith said something like this has never happened in his 24 years at Garland High School. But, he knows it can happen anywhere. He’s urging people to learn CPR.