Scotty was on 2nd base, Chuck was pitching, it was 2nd innings of the last game of the season.
“Chuck looks around at the field, makes sure everybody is ready. He turns around to throw the next pitch and falls straight onto his back,” Scotty recalled. Chuck didn’t move and hadn’t called out. He just went down. Everyone ran over to him, and Scotty saw he wasn’t breathing properly. Scotty Jones knew CPR, he’d been trained every year at school. The Westminster Schools, where he works as a music teacher, has a policy of annual CPR training and refresher courses.*
A fellow ran out of the scorekeeper’s box with an AED in his hands. When he got to Chuck’s side, he asked “Does anyone know how to use this thing?” Scotty did. He ripped open Chuck’s shirt and applied the pads. He couldn’t believe there was something wrong with CHucks; heart. He suspected a seizure. The device announced “shock advised”. Scotty pushed the button and then watched in horror as Chuck stopped breathing altogether.
Scotty began CPR immediately, following the training he knew so well.
“You know you can do it,” Scotty said confidently. “You’ve been trained to do this, and if not you, then who?” Scotty asked himself. He was also thinking that the ambulance better get there quickly. “I knew you just keep going till the paramedics get there. You just don’t stop!” Scotty said. “This went on for a while and then the machine went ‘Stand by, analyzing’ and everyone’s watching. It says ‘shock advised’ again, so I hit the button again,” Scotty said. He also resumed mouth-to-mouth and then noticed a fire truck pulling up next to the field.
Just as the paramedics got to him, Chuck began breathing on his own. “He wanted to get up, ‘let’s finish the game’ type thing,” Scotty said. Chuck was disoriented but obviously okay. He was taken to the hospital and the team was left wondering. Chuck was a father of four, he was the coach of the team. Scotty knew Suzy and the kids. It had all happened so fast.
“At the hospital was the first time I heard the term Sudden Cardiac Death,” Scotty said. “The doctor said his arteries were fine, it was the electrical part that just stopped.” If it wasn’t for the CPR and the AED, the doctor told Chuck, he would not have made it.
“He’s a big construction guy, always playing [sports],” Scotty said, “but this was serious.”
The good news is that Chuck returned to the ball game—the following year! He also had an ICD implanted in his chest to protect him from any future episodes of sudden cardiac arrest.
*Dr Sam Schatten founded the CLEAR Coalition, whose mission is to promote CPR/AED training to teenagers and adults through high schools, churches, synagogues, businesses and local health fairs as well as to encourage widespread AED program implementation throughout Georgia. The CLEAR Coalition was instrumental in convincing Governor Sonny Perdue to bring Georgia to the top of the list for States supporting AED access and CPR training in public high schools, by signing HB1031 into law.