DALLAS - Quick thinking by a Lake Highlands middle school coach and a school nurse helped save a young boy's life after going into cardiac arrest.
Students and staff scrambled to find a nurse, who revived the 13-year-old. His parents credit his classmates, teacher and nurse with miraculously saving his life. School officials say it's all thanks to the training and drills they do all year long that saved not one but two lives.
It was Monday afternoon on November 28, the last period before school let out at Lake Highlands Junior High. Coach Craig Titsworth's PE class was running 100-meter dashes when 13-year old Joe Krejci collapsed. The coach called 911 while sending his fastest students to get the school nurse.
"Something in my gut told me to stop and get the AED," said school nurse Annie Young.
By the time Young made it to the track, she found Joe "kind of making gasping motions, and his eyes were just open and glazed over."
Joe had no pulse and wasn't breathing. But together, school staff members worked to save the 13-year old's life.
"I started doing chest compressions," Young said.
"I hooked up the pads. Put one on him. I put the other one on him," Titsworth said.
Young continued CPR until they got Joe to an ambulance. Outside the school, Joe's mom was waiting to pick him up, unaware of what was happening.
Joe had a pulse by the time he got to the hospital, later diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm. He now has a pacemaker and defibrillator to monitor his heart.
And if that life-saving event seems rare, think again.
Exactly one week before Joe's emergency, Sarah Maupin was walking out of a parent-teacher conference at Wallace Elementary just two blocks away.
"I ended up collapsing on the sidewalk, and I didn't end up waking up until two hours later," she recalled.
Maupin also went into cardiac arrest. According to witnesses, she was turning gray, gasping for air when the school nurse at Wallace happened to be leaving and revived her with the same type of machine that saved Joe.
"The cardiologist said if I'd waited for the EMS, I'd probably be in ICU," Maupin said.
Maupin and Joe now share that common bond -- saved by an AED and a quick thinking school staff.
State law requires an AED in every school and for teachers and staff to get recertified every two years.
But Richardson ISD goes beyond that, with multiple AEDs in the schools and requiring staff practices with drills every semester.
Joe's parents say their son did not have any history of heart disease and urge parents to get their kids screened with a blood test for any heart issues.