‘Really lucky’: Middle schooler stops breathing at football game, revived by spectators

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The community is still in shock after a middle school football game took a turn for the worst.

The Central Valley School District says a middle schooler is now recovering. He was knocked unconscious during the seventh-grade Horizon versus Greenacres game on Tuesday. People called 911, saying he wasn’t breathing.

Others raced to the field to save him. In any kind of cardiac arrest, those minutes mean everything.

“They were playing and then all of a sudden it was chaos,” said Arianna Walker. She was at the game.

Her son was on the field when it happened. She felt “immediate fear that it was him.”

Her son wasn’t hurt, but everyone was worried.

“They were all together, praying, crying and so I remember that and seeing how scared my son was for his friend,” she said trying to hold back tears.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department rushed to the scene, expecting the worst.

“It’s more difficult to run on children’s calls,” said Jeff Smetzler. “Those tend to be the more stressful calls we run on.”

The stress subsided when they arrived, and he was breathing.

“It’s been proven lives are saved in the first few minutes,” he said.

Starting CPR as soon as possible and having an AED nearby saves lives. The machine will walk you through how to use it and gives people step-by-step directions.

“I believe everyone was really lucky yesterday,” Walker said.

Crews still took him to the hospital, and this mom is more nervous about the season.

“It made everything really real, and being fearful that that could happen to him,” she concluded.

She says she’s thankful she knows CPR, and people at the game were brave enough to use it when it mattered most.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department offers free CPR training. The school district says it’s also taking stock of its current AED supply to see if they need more or need them in different locations to keep students safe.

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