Monday, October 21, 2013

Onteora player resuscitated after collapsing on Wallkill court


Times Herald-Record
Heroes and life-and-death situations are clich├ęs in the sports world, but they were quite real during Thursday's volleyball match between Onteora and Wallkill.
Onteora junior Makalia Ouellette walked over to coach Brittany Alexander during the match at Wallkill complaining that she wasn't feeling well and thought she might pass out. Alexander called timeout as Ouellette collapsed into her arms.
Alexander said she yelled for help and "people came running." After laying Ouellette flat on the court, Alexander immediately began performing CPR. Ouellette was unconscious and "turning blue and not breathing," Alexander said. Onteora assistant coach Nicole Saunders found Wallkill's automated external defibrillator and gave Ouellette a shock that caused her to regain consciousness.
"After screaming and freaking out, she did eventually calm down and was alert," Alexander said. Her teammates "were able to see her go out on the stretcher alert. I did notify them on the bus ride home that she had made it to the hospital and was OK."
An ambulance took Ouellette to St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh. Alexander heard from a number of team parents that followed the ambulance to the hospital that Ouellette's condition was stable. She was later transferred to a hospital in Westchester County.
Ouellette's parents were notified shortly after she collapsed and met her at the hospital.
Alexander said Ouellette had no history of medical conditions.
When Onteora's bus returned to the school in Boiceville after the match, which did not continue, the players were greeted by social workers, counselors and psychologists for trauma counseling.
"It was nice that they had that, because I was in shock," Alexander said. "She looked like she was not going to make it. It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced in my whole entire life."
Alexander credited a pair of men who came down from the stands to help administer CPR. In the chaos that ensued, she did not get their names.
For coaches around Section 9, Alexander hopes the incident can have a silver lining. If more coaches and school employees and officials are trained to use an AED in an emergency situation, they, too, may be able to save a life.
"Every person, every teacher, every administrator, every janitor and especially every bus driver, they all need to have this training," she said. "Bus drivers need to have an AED on the bus, too. You need to be able to react right then and there. There isn't any time to think. You need to just do it. I never thought I was going to have to use it, but tonight was my wake-up call."
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