AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — Quick-thinking coaches and a school's new defibrillator helped save the life of an American Falls High School athlete after the boy collapsed at practice.
Superintendent Ron Bolinger said 17-year-old Ross Palmer, a star on the football team, collapsed near the end of practice Tuesday night. The coaching staff couldn't find a pulse and started CPR.
Bolinger said another coach ran inside to get a defibrillator that the school had recently acquired. The second shock from the machine to the young athlete's heart started it beating again.
Medical responders confirmed that CPR alone wouldn't have saved the teen, Bolinger said.
"What we found out is it's because of the fact that we have the defibrillator and they were cool enough to know what to do is why the young man is living," he said.
Palmer was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital for treatment. Bolinger said no one knew the boy had a heart condition until he collapsed.
"He might have to have a procedure that would help to stimulate his heart. If they can fix it, he can resume normal activity," Bolinger said. "He's a senior. He's an outstanding athlete and in perfect shape, practically. Nobody would have ever known that there was any kind of an issue."
Palmer's family members said they were grateful to the football coaching staff for saving his life.
"Because of how well-prepared everyone was, Ross made it," said Palmer's uncle, Kyle Cook.
Coaches in the American Falls School District must undergo CPR training, and the football coaching staff had just completed a refresher course, Bolinger said.
A school nurse obtained two defibrillators after winning a grant last year. The district now has four of the machines — two at a local middle school and two at the high school.
The district earlier used a defibrillator on a fan who experienced a heart problem while attending a game.
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