High school wrestling coaches save life of athlete who collapsed during practice

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - A couple of wrestling coaches at St. Edward High School are being credited with saving the life of a young athlete who collapsed during practice last week.

"The student athlete was gasping, could not breathe, there was like long gaps in between, so I know that does not count as breathing and he wasn't responding,” assistant coach Mark Jayne told WJW.

Jayne, who teaches CPR in his health class and certifies students, faculty and staff, grabbed an AED that had been secured by another coach and applied the pads as directed.

"You've got to look at the picture. It tells you exactly where to put it, so even though your adrenaline is running high, you know where to go," said Jayne.

As a result of the quick actions of Coach Jayne and his colleagues, and the easy access to the AEDs positioned around the campus, the teenager was breathing when paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. "It saved his life so knowing how to do this, I mean you just don't know, it could be in the practice room, out in public, in school anywhere; you just don't know so it's always good to be ready, be trained,” said Jayne.

After the student was stabilized at the hospital doctors decided to implant a pacemaker in his heart. They have also recommended that members of his family be tested for the same heart condition.

Coach Jayne says the positive outcome serves as a powerful reminder about the importance of learning CPR and taking charge in any emergency when a life is hanging in the balance.

"You can't assume someone else is going to do something. There's something called the bystander effect: the more people there are, the more likely it is you assume someone else is going to do it, so it's important you make sure you point at someone, 'you call 911; you get the AED,' and don't assume someone else knows what they're doing just because they're there,” he said.

The 15-year-old student is already back home with his family, and doctors expect him to make a full recovery.