LAYTON, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A Northridge High School student is alive, Thursday, thanks to a teacher who sprang into action and restarted his heart.
It all started around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon during an after-school weightlifting hour for Northridge High’s football team.
“The boys were up here working out,” Leigh Otis, a teacher and athletic director said during an interview.
The football coach was not far away and Otis was downstairs in another room, when she says she heard cries for help.
“One of the athletes came down and said one of the boys was having a seizure,” she recalled.
But it was not a seizure.
Officials say a 17 year-old athlete had walked out of the weight room for a water break when, without warning, he collapsed.
“We came running up the stairs,” Otis said.
At that point, the student’s heart had stopped altogether so the fast-acting educator started chest compressions.
“Emotionally, I don’t think I felt anything. Taking care of him was my biggest concern,” she said.
Otis is highly trained in CPR but says prior to this, she had never had to use it. Fortunately, there was an easily accessible AED machine at the bottom of the stairs that her intern grabbed.
“I continued chest compressions… and then my intern put the AED on his body as I was going. She just worked around me, and so we didn’t stop,” she explained.
“Stay calm. Follow these voice instructions,” the AED instructs users who initialize it.
That is exactly what they did.
The defibrillator assessed the teen’s heart and walked them through the process of delivering a shock and continuing compressions.
“We noticed that he took a breath, so we stopped, he took another breath on his own… We checked for a heart beat,” Otis recalled.
By the time emergency responders arrived just minutes later, witnesses say the student had regained consciousness.
Otis credits the AED.
“Even if you’ve never been trained on it, anyone can use this,” she said.
Responders credit Otis.
“There’re some golden minutes or seconds that have to take place when it comes to a cardiac emergency…” said Doug Bitton, Spokesperson for Layton City Fire Dept. “This one here was perfect timing, perfect person,” he said.
“Everyone calls me a hero, but — sorry, I’m going to cry again — I was just doing what I’m trained to do,” Otis commented.
As of Thursday evening, officials were not releasing the name of the student but did say he is now in good condition at a local hospital, and no word yet on why his heart stopped beating in the first place.