WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Teachers and administrators at West Jordan Middle School are being praised for saving the life of one of their students and the entire thing was caught on surveillance video.
It happened last Wednesday. The morning started off like any other morning. 14 year-old Skyler Nelson was warming up along with the rest of his 1st period gym class. Resting high above the gym a surveillance camera captures Skyler coming around for his fourth lap, moments later he slows down, appears fatigued, takes a few steps and collapses to the ground, around 8:07 a.m..
“He was gone, for the most part what we saw, he was gone,” said Assistant Principal Eric Price.
After Skyler collapsed many students weren’t sure what exactly had happened. Skyler, a known jokester, most students assumed he was playing around but it quickly occurred to them something was wrong as his physical education teacher, Mr. Nakagama, went over to check on him. One student can be seen in the surveillance video rush out of the gym and head for the main office to notify the principal.
The principal who was told a “student had fallen,” assumed it was just a sprained ankle but when she arrived in the gym she immediately realized the situation was so much worse and radioed for someone to call 911. That is when Assistant Principal Eric Price heard the call over the radio and rushed over to help.
“He was pale, you could tell he was struggling to breathe, he was trying to breathe and then there was a point where he just stopped breathing all together,” he said.
As he and another teacher were assessing Skyler, Det. David Hood, the school’s resource officer came in to help.
“I overheard Eric Price say he had no pulse, he leaned over and started CPR and I started communication with dispatch,” said Hood.
At 8:13 a.m. Price began CPR while Hood communicated to dispatch the condition of Skyler and what was happening. Another teacher also secured Skyler’s airway while they began compressions.
Fortunately, their training was still fresh in their mind. Just 10 days prior several of the teachers had gone through a CPR training course. Every year the school brings a medical profession from the outside to provide teachers with CPR and first aid training. Price, was getting re-certified and recalls what it was like putting his training into action.
“It was pretty emotional, a lot of doing what you’re asked to do. A lot of prayer. Just doing what we were trained to do, it’s one of those things you hope you never have to use, but you are ready to use when you have to use it,” he said.
Price and Hood took turns performing compressions on Skyler until paramedics finally arrived on scene around 8:18 and transported Skyler to Primary Children’s Hospital. At the hospital it was found that he was born with a genetic heart defect that was never caught during regular and annual check-ups. After days of worrying and days of tests, Skyler finally woke up on Friday and was interacting with family.
Det. Hood and Eric were able to finally visit Skyler in the hospital on Tuesday.
“It was actually good to see him actually sitting up and talking to us. Telling us he had a couple of milkshakes,” said Det. Hood.
Price added, “When we were leaving Skyler looked at us and he said, ‘Thank you for saving my life.”
They wont take all the credit though, as they say it was a combined team effort from several other teachers and administrators who stepped up and stepped in to keep Skyler alive. And they say, Skyler is the true hero as he was fighting so hard to stay alive.
Price says they encourage their teachers to get trained each year.
A person should get re-certified every two years after receiving CPR training. But, the administrators at West Jordan will be looking at providing more timely training sessions to keep their skills fresh.
“I’d like to see a little more continuous training,” said Det. Hood. “I think the criteria is every year. When you don’t do it a lot it’s always a nice refresher to do it again. Working on a dummy, is one thing but having to do it for real? Having more training is probably a little better.”
Skyler underwent heart surgery Wednesday and had a heart defibrillator placed which would monitor and shock his heart should he run into a similar situation again.