Posted by Bob Trenkamp on 03/08/2012

You might be amazed to find how many people feel that cardiac arrests happen only to older folks, that there's really not much you can do - most of the people who arrest stay dead, and that they will never see a sudden cardiac arrest happen.I encounter that all the time.

First of all, hundreds of high-school students arrest every year. Second of all, while the overall survival rate across the country is only a little above one in twenty, there are islands of excellence throughout the nation where survival rates are in the fifty ro seventy-five percent range. This knowledge is important, because it's an existence proof that we can do better,

Here's the story of a young lad who died in January and is back at school now.



Student who suffered cardiac arrest returns to RWHS
It’s been about six weeks since Red Wing High School student Tomas collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest while running laps during phys ed.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle

It’s been about six weeks since Red Wing High School student Tomas collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest while running laps during phys ed.

In the time since the Jan. 20 incident, the senior had a pacemaker/defibrillator installed in his chest and spent time at home recovering.

But on Monday morning, Tomas, whose family requested his last name not be used, got a warm welcome back to school.

About 25 students, staff and teachers lined the sidewalk from Tomas’ bus to the doors of the school, cheering, clapping and holding “Welcome back, Tomas” signs.

“He had a big smile on his face so it was really cute,” said school nurse Kris Klassen.

Klassen, along with school security officer Mark Langenwalter, helped give Tomas CPR and attached the school’s automatic external defibrillator to his chest the day he collapsed.

Tomas got the go-ahead from his doctors last Thursday morning to come back to school, and school staff was informed that afternoon. He is now back to a full school schedule.

“I did not expect him to be back this soon,” Klassen said. “He did not lose any educational functioning. He’s back to exactly where he was, so that’s really good.”

However, Tomas does have some restrictions when it comes to things like lifting and other strenuous activities. He will also have to sit out of gym class.

“He loves phys ed,” Klassen said. “It’s kind of hard for him to watch and not participate.”

But he won’t be on the sidelines forever. Klassen said Tomas will be able to get back into the gym again, starting with walking before working his way back up to running.

However, Tomas will have quite a few sets of eyes on him as he gets back into the swing of things. Classroom teachers have been told to watch him for signs of fatigue or “anything out of the normal,” Klassen said.

“We want to make sure he’s perfectly OK and safe and he stays healthy,” she said, adding that the pacemaker/defibrillator should help in case anything goes wrong.

On Tuesday, Klassen said students, staff and Tomas himself are just glad to have things back to normal.

“He’s stated he’s really happy to be back. He missed all his friends. He missed doing things,” Klassen said.

“He looks really good and he feels healthy. We’re really glad he’s back.”