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Basketball player's heart restarted during game in Walnut Creek

WALNUT CREEK (KTVU) - A 14 year old basketball player is recovering from an apparent heart attack, thanks to a lifesaving piece of technology that was courtside.


The teen was playing in a Catholic Youth Organization league at the Contra Costa County Jewish Community Center when he collapsed after half-time. Coach John Wackowski said the game came to a halt, and parents and officials rushed to the teen's side when he went down. "Then his eyes started to roll back a little bit, then he started having a hard time breathing," said Wackowski.


A retired firefighter and an off duty nurse were among the spectators in attendance. The nurse quickly determined the teen had stopped breathing and his heart had stopped beating, Wackowski says that's when they called for a lifeline, an automated external defibrillator. "Then I ran out here, and she said, do we have an AED?" said Wackowski. "Then I ran out here, with Pat Clarkson, he said here it is, threw it over to me, I ran it back in there we opened it up, put the AED on and that was a lifesaver."


The device jolted the teen's heart back to a normal rhythm, paramedics were on scene within minutes and transported him to John Muir Medical Center, where he was under observation as of Saturday night.


"You just see this bright kid with his whole future ahead of him, and luckily, again that AED was here to help save his life," said Wackowski.


Wes Allnutt is a program coordinator for the City of Walnut Creek he has worked for years to get AEDs into as many city facilities as possible, saying they save lives. This particular unit, which saved the life of the 14 year old boy, was also responsible for restarting the heart of a 55 year old man two years ago at the same facility.


"I think you'd be hard pressed to find facilities that don't them now," said Allnutt. "But if you don't have them now by all means make sure you get one."

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