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Wednesday, 06 June 2012 10:59
A number of schools in Illinois state have Automated External Defibrillators on-site and have used them to save numerous lives in the past decade, including freshman softball coach Rich Keller. Suburban high schools in the area are complying with a state statue which requires AEDs to be immediately available during school sporting activities and events.
This was particularly fortunate for Keller who collapsed whilst coaching softball at Schaumburg High School. “The girls thought I was just messing around, laying on the ground trying to sun myself or something,” said Keller, “turns out, I was in trouble.”
63 year-old Keller was quickly revived with a nearby defibrillator and is now among several other local figures who have dramatically benefitted from the availability of AEDs at schools. In 2001, a cross country coach at Glenbard South High School was revived with a defibrillator after he collapsed during a pep rally and, at the end of 2010, a referee at a basketball game at Round Lake High School also survived thanks to some quick thinking people nearby and the availability of an AED.
“The whole thing is kind of miracle-like because 12 days later, my grandson was born,” Keller said. “I couldn’t help but think I almost didn’t meet him".
Keller had Joe Boshold and Kelly Wika to thank for being able to meet his grandson. When Keller collapsed, Wika ran to grab the portable AED whilst Boshold started chest compressions. The pair administered two defibrillation shocks and continued to perform CPR on Keller, managing to stabilise his heartbeat again before paramedics arrived to take over.
Whilst many schools in Illinois districts, and across the US, have defibrillators available for such incidents, it is estimated that only around 100 schools in the entire UK currently have an on-site AED. There is also no current legislation which supports the provision of AEDs to UK schools.
To support Hand On Heart's projects to fund defibrillators in UK schools, text HAND88 £2 to 70070 to make a quick and simple £2 donation!