A Layton teen is alive and well thanks to a well-trained and quick-thinking athletic trainer at Northridge High School. Leigh Otis is a full time teacher and part-time athletic trainer who can now ad hero to her title.
The Davis County woman administered CPR and an used an automated external defibrillator, or AED, to get a 17-year-old boy breathing and alert by the time paramedics arrived.
The teen was rushed originally to Davis Hospital and then by ground ambulance to Primary Children’s Hospital late Wednesday.
While the teen’s family is not releasing his name or condition, his school, who’s been in contact with the family said he’s doing well — especially considering the fact the ending of this story could have been far different.
The story started Wednesday afternoon when the Northridge football team stayed after school for pre-season strength training. Around 3:30 p.m. the 17-year-old walked out of the gym for a quick break with friends. In the hallway, a group stopped to get a drink.
“His friend was getting a drink of water and he collapsed on the floor.”
Otis said another athlete ran down a staircase just feet from the drinking fountain to her office where she was working. She sprinted up the stairs. He “wasn’t breathing, no pulse.”
Otis has taught CPR for years, but until that moment, had never had a need to use the skill. She went into autopilot.
“Emotionally I don’t think I was feeling anything, I was just taking care of him. It was my biggest concern. I didn’t think about what to do next I just started (chest) compressions.”
A student called 9-1-1 while Otis’ intern, Amanda Jennings, a Weber State student, ran for the AED at the bottom of the stairs.
Otis says she “did compressions and then ventilations while she attached it (AED) to him; once the AED was attached and ready to analyze the heart rhythm we stopped giving compressions.”
Once open, the AED gives step-by-step instructions on what to do. The foil was removed from the electronic paddles and placed on the teen’s chest. Nothing immediately happened after the shock, so the women continued with CPR.
A minute later, “we noticed he took a breath, he took another breath on his own and we checked for a pulse.” At that point the teen had a heartbeat but he was still unconscious.
Five minutes into the ordeal, the teen was alert and talking and could remember his name and where he was.
“Anyone can use it, even if you have never used it. If you have that same situation, you could pull it off the shelf and save a life.”
Otis has always been a proponent of using and keeping an AED nearby, but now she wants others to know they too can save a life.
Otis credits the lifesaving efforts to the AED, one of the six scattered through Northridge High. She carries her own portable one wherever she goes — including on the sidelines of games.
“I would hope anyone with the same training would do the same thing, everyone calls me a hero but I don’t feel that way.” Otis was getting emotional as she talked about her hero status saying “I just did what I was trying to do.”