Basketball Player’s Collapse Forces Team Into Race Against Time

Basketball players in South Brunswick, New Jersey, sprang into action to save their teammate’s life after he collapsed during a game. The incident occurred on August 9th during a men’s over-40 league game at South Brunswick High School. Javier, a 48-year-old man from Princeton, suddenly felt unwell and sat in a chair under the far basket. However, he collapsed off the chair and onto the court, prompting his fellow players to rush to his aid.

Cheng “Rob” Lee, a volunteer firefighter with the Kingston Fire Department, acted quickly, directing the site supervisor, Mike Dooley, to call 911 and another player to retrieve the automated external defibrillator (AED). Raj Vora, another player, described Javier as gasping for air and turning purple. Vora quickly fetched the AED while Freddy Schenk, an athletic trainer, began performing chest compressions. Lee administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. They applied the AED and shocked Javier, but still, there was no pulse. Recognizing the dire situation, they continued their efforts to revive Javier.

Within two minutes of the 911 call, South Brunswick Officer Sean Nally arrived at the high school and took over CPR from the basketball players. Another shock was delivered using the AED. Soon after, the Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad and paramedics arrived, and the lifesaving efforts continued. After several minutes of relentless work, Javier regained a pulse. As he was placed in the ambulance, Javier regained consciousness and began speaking with the EMS personnel, inquiring about what had happened.

The incident highlights the critical importance of CPR knowledge and access to AEDs. South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka stated that the split-second actions of the basketball players, Officer Nally, and the EMS team saved Javier’s life. Cardiac arrest affects around 350,000 Americans annually, with only about 10% surviving. Studies have shown that if CPR and defibrillation are administered within the first three minutes, the chances of survival increase significantly.

Chief Hayducka emphasized that the South Brunswick School District’s investment in AEDs across all schools played a pivotal role in saving Javier’s life. Javier, now recuperating at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, expressed his profound gratitude to his teammates, police officers, and EMS personnel for their quick actions and life-saving skills. He acknowledged that their efforts allowed him to continue his life as a husband and father.

For those interested in learning CPR, they can contact Penn Medicine Princeton Health at 1-888-897-8979 or refer to the American Heart Association website for more information.

[Watch the video of the incident here]

[See the photo of the individuals involved in the life-saving effort]

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