HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Two Allen Jay Preparatory Academy coaches jumped into action Tuesday after a student collapsed minutes into basketball practice.
Principal Dr. Kevin Wheat told FOX8 the student is doing well and recovering after he fell to the ground nearly one week ago.
Players were warming up for practice when the boy suffered a medical emergency.
“As a coach, I’ve never experienced in 20 years a medical emergency of this magnitude,” said Scott Van Newkirk, a science teacher and basketball coach at the school.
He called 911 and began chest compressions while Athletic Director Montrez Shaw ran to get the AED device in the school’s main office.
“I had do CPR. The 911 operator talked me through it, counted with me, kept me calm, made sure I was focused doing it right,” Van Newkirk explained.
In less than two minutes, Shaw returned with the device and applied the machine’s pads to the athlete’s chest.
“His life was in my hands, and I don’t want to say I wanted to be the hero, but I wanted to do enough for that individual, for his family and the staff here at school, so I was kind of beating myself up. ‘Did I move quick enough? Did I put it on fast enough? Did I do the right things?’” Shaw explained Monday.
Wheat said EMS crews arrived quickly.
“Those first minutes are critical to make sure oxygen is moving and blood is moving, so our coaches really did a great job of responding in the moment,” he told FOX8.
Every public middle and high school in Guilford County has a defibrillator, and Wheat said athletics staff review how to use it every year.
“To have to get that AED and actually use it and turn it on and watch it do it’s magic, again I would do that training every day to not have to do it in a real-life situation,” Shaw said.
Students and staff are fundraising to help the boy’s family with medical expenses. Students also made cards and videos to cheer their classmate on in his recovery.
“It’s been overwhelming. It’s been great. Here at Allen Jay, we are a family, and that really brought us closer together. You never want an event like this to really truly test how close you are, but I’ve really been able to step back and say we really are closer than sometimes we appear,” sVan Newkirk said.
“It was unreal the way they rallied behind that individual. Not only the kids, their parents, the staff here. It’s just unreal the support this kid is getting,” Shaw added.