A father in his mid-50s who collapsed on his way to watch his daughter’s softball game at Lakeland High School on Wednesday was brought back to life by a trainer and a coach using a portable defibrillator.
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The father, who had lost consciousness and wasn’t breathing when Lakeland athletic trainer Amanda Tiffany and John Jay High School lacrosse coach Patrick Chiappetta rushed to his aid, was recovering in stable condition Thursday at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, school officials said.
“There is a family that is not mourning the loss of a father today because people acted, and that is heavy stuff,” said Chiappetta’s boss, Christian McCarthy, the athletic director for the Katonah-Lewisboro school district. “Their decision to act saved a life, and there is no greater classroom lesson than that.”
It was one of those busy after-school weekdays in spring with multiple games in progress across a single campus, and scores of spectators, players and school officials on the scene.
The man was headed to the junior varsity softball game and was just outside the fence surrounding the school’s all-purpose athletic field when everything stopped. MaryLu Fiori, a Lakeland field monitor, saw the man collapse and yelled for help.
“I knew my AED was at the end of the bench so I grabbed it and I ran as fast as I could across the field,” said Chiappetta, 29, John Jay’s junior varsity girls lacrosse coach and a father of two. “He was in bad shape, on his back, so I hopped the fence and the Lakeland trainer already had his shirt pulled up.”
“I opened my AED and the trainer put the pads on him and pushed the button,” Chiappetta said .
The device can scan for irregular heartbeats and deliver a shock to restore a healthy rhythm. It was enough to bring the man, whom officials declined to identify, back to consciousness.
As Tiffany and Chiappetta were at the man’s side, Yorktown police Officer Larry Paniccia, the school’s resource officer, called 911 and joined in the lifesaving efforts. Mohegan Lake ambulance responded and took him from the scene.
“He is awake and speaking with his family,” Lakeland High School Principal Lorrie Yurish said Thursday. “The family is so grateful.”