It happened March 23rd, during the first class of the day.
Gym teacher Ken Haines said, “The class was doing a mile timed run. He was up toward the front and he was running strong, completed one lap, he was running around and right in this area right here, I saw him collapse down on all fours, seconds later he was just totally unresponsive.”
He was talking about seventh grader Travis Arnold. He radioed nursing assistant Tressa Palmer immediately, and sent students to get help.
“Two girls from the middle school came running and said that they needed me on the track, that a student was down,” said Palmer.
Two other staff members got the school’s defibrillator, or A.E.D. as she ran to the track. “I went over to Mr. Haines, he told me to try and see if I could find a pulse. I could not, Travis was still unconscious,” said Palmer.
Haines said, “She got the AED got right out here, I continued CPR while she hooked him up to the AED and shocked him and she started chest compressions and I was doing the breaths.”
His father, David Arnold remembers the call from the school secretary. “‘The word defibrillator was used’, and I said you only use a defibrillator on someone’s whose heart stopped. And she said Mr. Arnold you need to get to the hospital right now.”
What happened to the him was later called a sudden death episode. His parents say if the stars we not aligned that day, it all would be different. It seems everyone was in the right place at the right time.
A month later, Travis was back to school, and now, he’s just about back to doing all the things he used to do. “Yeah, 99 percent,” said Travis. He’s a man of few words, and thanks his favorite teacher. Dad is thankful he’s here to do it. “Like that day, I was just thankful I got to hug my son again.”
As the staff members and EMTs were honored, the gym teacher that saved his life said, “Travis, thanks for pulling through buddy, I appreciate that, and so does everyone else here”
Ironically, that gym teacher Ken Haines, collapsed in high school during a soccer game, was taken to the same hospital, and saved by a defibrillator.