When 7th grader Omarion Heart collapsed during gym class Longfellow Middle School in Indianapolis last month, school staff were ready to act.
Heart, 13, had been playing basketball when sudden cardiac arrest struck. He fell to the floor and stopped breathing. Two of his classmates ran to get help, returning with the school nurse and a coach. They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while Principal Jason Smith brought the school’s Cardiac Science Powerheart automated external defibrillator (AED) to the gym.
Smith attached the defibrillator pads and the AED administered a shock that restored the student’s heartbeat.
“His eyes flickered, and his arm moved,” Smith told Indy Channel news.
An ambulance took Heart to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. The 7th grader now has a pacemaker that includes a defibrillator. After two weeks in the hospital, he’s now ready to return to school.
Smith said that the staff at Longfellow Middle School are trained in AED use, but had never need to deploy an AED before.
“Having a real-life example takes it from theory to practice,” Smith said.
School staff involved in the rescue were honored last week for their quick actions that saved Heart’s life. Kiana Field, Heart’s mother, attended the ceremony to thank the school officials in person.