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Teen revived after heart stops during basketball game

January 6, 2015

WALNUT CREEK, Calif — A middle school student was recovering after a weekend basketball game nearly turned tragic, when he into apparent cardiac arrest.

City officials and the boys’ coach credited the presence of an automated external defibrillator with saving the 14-year-old’s life after he collapsed near midcourt 90 seconds into the second half of a CYO game at the Tice Valley Community Gym on Saturday.

“He was running down the court, and just before he got to midcourt, his knees buckled and he collapsed slowly,” the boy’s coach, John Wackowski said Tuesday. “It looked like he was convulsing a little bit, and his breathing was really shallow and labored. I don’t think any of us really knew what we were dealing with initially, but then his eyes rolled back and his lips turned purple.”

Bystanders came forward to help, including a nurse and retired firefighter. Both performed CPR and Wackowski ran to get the defibrillator, located behind the front desk at the gym. The nurse applied the machine to the boy’s chest.

“It sent out a shock, and his heart went back into rhythm,” Wackowski said.

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