Tragedy averted after New Jersey high school basketball player collapses during game

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Toni Yates has the story of how school staff and a defibrillator saved a New Jersey basketball player who collapsed.

A high school student in New Jersey is alive after he collapsed during a basketball game.

Alive because school staff had the tools to save him, something they didn't have six years ago when another student died at the school.

For the family who lost a son, it's a victory in their battle to protect all students.

The tragedy was averted thanks to two men and a defibrillator machine, mounted just steps away when they desperately needed it. When a visiting freshman basketball player started having health problems during the game.

"He was jogging down the court towards me, bumped into another kid and collapsed," said Edison High School athletic trainer Tim Root.

"The coach at Colonia was adamant we needed an AED as fast as possible," said Edison High School health and phys ed teacher Mark Blevins.

Blevins, who is also a coach, had the defibrillator at the child's side, just seconds after he went down.

"It just read to get everyone clear, it advised a shock and it shocked him, and in 10, 15 seconds he started to take breaths again," he said.

"My granddaughter called me, and when she told me what was going on at the school my heart just dropped," said Razeenah Walker.

It was emotional for Walker. Her grandson, 17-year-old Kittim Sherrod, was a star athlete at Edison High six years ago, when he collapsed and died during track practice.

He suffered Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition that left him with an abnormally large heart.

She helped lead the effort to get AED'S in all NJ schools.

"When you see a child full of life and then they're gone, you can't put it together in your mind, how could this happen?", she said.

Kittim's grandmother plans to reach out to the player's family to offer emotional support. She's on a larger mission in the past six years since her own grandson died to encourage parents to go above and beyond when it comes to their children's heart health.

"What I want is for the medical system and our society to have EKG machines at all physicals, not only for athletes but for our children ," she said.

The young basketball player is being treated at Robert Wood Johnson hospital. He is expected to survive.

For more information on Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, visit the web site of the Kittim N. Sherrod Foundation.
Related Topics:
healthhealthmedicalcollapsehigh school sportsnew jersey newsEdison
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