It’s one portable device that can save the lives of young athletes.
Having an AED at high school games could mean the difference between life and death.
Lynette Messina is head coach of the Garfield High School Boilermakers.
Freshman Gabriela Koziol had just joined the squad but on the first day of after-school practices last fall.
Messina says, “They were doing a run, and when they got to the other side, Gabby collapsed.”
Koziol says, “I just remember hearing the goalie scream after I fell.”
Lynette and her assistant coach were on the other end of the field. Messina says, “I had him run back to grab the AED, I started CPR, and he called 9-1-1.”
In all her years of coaching, Lynette always had the AED within quick reach, as mandated by New Jersey law, but never had to pull it out in a life or death situation.
The device talks users through the delivery of a shock to the heart. the AED applied only one shock to Gabby’s heart.
Dr. Barry Love with the Children’s Heart Center at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital says, “With the application of the shock, it put the heart back into normal rhythm which restored normal output of the heart and normal perfusion and Gabby woke up almost immediately.”
Dr. Love implanted this tiny defibrillator inside the teen to help start her heart if it arrested again.
He adds, “I would say it’s like her having her own guardian angel.”
Koziol says, “If I could get back on the field, I would really love to. I’d just want to play goalie again.”
In addition to the 14 states that mandate the AEDs at schools, there are now 38 states requiring students to learn how to perform CPR.
Dr. Love says they will have to evaluate Gabby to determine if she will be cleared to play soccer again next season.