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Worthington high school coaches help save student’s life after cardiac arrest

WORTHINGTON, Ohio — A 15-year-old incoming freshman and student-athlete at Worthington Kilbourne High School is now safe and back home after going into cardiac arrest on the track during athletic conditioning on July 7.

“We were on our second mile and I just basically collapsed,” said Canen Dickman.

Canen says he collapsed face-first on the track, motionless with no pulse.

Worthington Kilbourne Athletic Director Jeff Todd says his two coaches, Coach Sprunger and Coach Patrick, went into swift calm action to save his life in less than four minutes.

“We had coach Sprunger and coach Patrick stay calm and handle the situation appropriately. Some of our seniors stepped up and helped get the AED. They brought it back out, helped move kids out of the scene, really showed great leadership and poise and calmness,” said Todd.

Todd explains the coaches administered CPR, chest compressions and ran into the school to retrieve the AED before medics arrived minutes later.

“I actually don’t remember anything that day,” said Canen, who says he’s just thankful to be alive.

His mother, Pam Dickman, says this was the scariest moment of her life.

“I finally get close enough to see him and I just grabbed his hands and said ‘Mom’s here Canen.’ And I’ll never forget his eyes because he just wasn’t there,” said Pam.

The school has already ordered an additional AED that will be placed outside closer to the field and readily available.

Canen was first transported to Riverside Methodist Hospital, then Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He was released after seven days and will wear a life vest to monitor his heartbeat.

“He might not ever be able to play the sports he loves again but we’re trying to concentrate on the fact that we almost lost him and that’s the most important part, that he’s still with us today,” said Pam.

The family says they are taking recovery day-by-day and will focus on mental health during this time, in addition to his physical condition.

Pam says the one thing schools should learn from Canen’s story is to get more AEDs placed outside near tracks and fields that would be easily accessible to save more lives. The family also couldn’t be more thankful for the prepared and calm coaches that saved their son’s life.

Worthington high school coaches help save student’s life after cardiac arrest
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