Man collapses on high school track

New rescue equipment put to the test

Just this week, staff at Lassiter High School moved one of the school’s two defibrillators to the athletic field house to make it more accessible. Just in case.

Early Thursday morning, it was put to the test. And it passed.

Quick-acting Lassiter High School football coaches and a campus officer saved a man who collapsed during a walk on the school’s track.

“You don’t really think about it, you just react,” head coach Chip Lindsey said.

Lindsey was in his office around 6:30 a.m. when others on the track got the attention of assistant coach David Arvin. Arvin ran to the track, and Lindsey and coach Jim Brown followed.

The coaches started CPR, and deputy Richard Edwards grabbed the Automated External Defibrillator, or AED as its called. The man, who has not been identified, was shocked once as emergency responders arrived, following a 6:49 a.m. call to 9-1-1.

“When we arrived, he did not have a pulse,” said Denell Boyd with the Cobb County Fire Department. The man was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital after his pulse restarted.

The Cobb County school district is one of many around the metro Atlanta area that have the potentially life-saving devices at every school, according to Alison Ellison with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Gwinnett, Douglas, Fayette and Paulding have the devices in all schools, and Fulton, DeKalb and Cherokee high schools and middle schools have them. City of Atlanta schools have AEDs and are beginning training to use them, Ellison said. Many other schools throughout the state also have decided to purchase AEDs.

As coordinator of Project Save, Ellison wants every school to be prepared in an emergency. “The whole purpose is to make sure schools are ready to do what Lassiter did today.”

Thursday’s incident is the third this month at Georgia schools, Ellison said. Since December 2007, 15 lives — including seven students — have been saved by AEDs.

While educators’ top priority is teaching, learning how to saves lives is critical, too.

“Any potential witness needs to be able to recognize that it could be a sudden cardiac arrest,” Ellison said.

Staff-wide awareness sessions are now planned at Lassiter, just in case something like this ever happens again, according to Audrey Dinoff , school nurse.

“If there hadn’t been an AED in place and someone trained to use it, the man may not have survived,” Dinoff said.