SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - One Springfield teen-athlete is lucky to be alive, after goinginto cardiac arrest at school last winter.
His heart stopped after wrestling, but coaches knew how to bringhim back to life. Now state lawmakers are pushing legislation thatcould help save more student's lives.
Olajuwon "OJ" Somerville helped take his Sabis InternationalCharter School wrestling team to top last year.
The 17-year-old was a star-athlete crushing thecompetition...until his heart stopped after a match in January.
OJ's memory fails him trying to remember the days leading up tohis near-death experience, "I really don't remember much from thatday."
So one could imagine the shock that OJ felt, after learning howhis coaches, parents and students brought him back to life, andthen to hear he could never compete again.
"I woke up at the hospital three days later they told me I had aheart attack," recalled Somerville.
If it weren't for quick action, CPR and an AED defibrillator, hewouldn't be alive today. "It's vital because it could save a lot oflives. In fact, there was a kid that had a heart attack before meand died because he didn't have one," said Somerville.
That's why lawmakers met at the State House, weighing bills tobeef up CPR requirements for all students. Senator Steve Buonicontialso filed a bill for every coach to be trained in how to use adefibrillator.
In the wake of OJ's life and death scare last winter, morestudents at Sabis have come forward asking they be trained in theselive saving techniques. "I have a handful of students interested intaking CPR after OJ. We started three years ago training allstaff," said Sabis nurse Kathleen Dupuis.
"The benefit it gave us saving OJ's life, to me, it makessense," said wrestling coach Alex Seid.
For OJ and his school, this was one life or death match whereteamwork lead to victory.