High school student’s mother saved her life after she went into cardiac arrest during a cheerleading stunt: ‘Scariest moment of my life’

News & Politics

A North Carolina mother is being praised for the quick thinking that likely saved her daughter’s life after she went in cardiac arrest during a cheerleading stunt.

Keianna Joe was preparing for a high school cheerleading competition on March 5 when she suddenly became unresponsive.

“I guess when I cartwheeled, I gripped onto my base and I didn’t let her go and that’s when they knew something was wrong and they slowly let me down to the ground,” Keianna said. “I’m so thankful that my teammates are observant and very careful and knew not to panic in the moment and to get me down safely.”

Andrea Joe, her mother, said she was alerted to the emergency by her daughter’s coach.

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“I saw her coach came running out of the back door of the other building screaming just frantically, ‘Get an ambulance. Get an ambulance. We need the ambulance here now,’” she said.

The mother said she rushed to her daughter’s side and found that she had no pulse. Luckily, she was CPR-certified, and she says that her instincts took over.

“I just took over. I know CPR, I know how to do this. This is my baby and I have to save her,” she said.

She says she worked on her daughter for ten minutes.

“I was like, ‘Come on, Keianna Come on. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this today,’” she said.

That’s when someone brought over an automated external defibrillator, or AED, a medical device that delivers an electrical shock timed to restart a person’s heart to its normal rhythm. Andrea Joe was also trained in the use of the AED.

“I grabbed the pads and I just kind of ripped her uniform up over her head and threw the pads on her and hit the button,” the mother explained. “It said, ‘shock advised,’ and that was alarming because you train on these devices all the time and every time you train on them, they never deliver a shock because it’s not a live patient.”

After using the AED and another round of CPR, her daughter began to breathe again.

Keianna Joe was transported to a hospital for treatment. She was released a week later after doctors inserted a implantable cardioverter defibrillator to detect and stop irregular heartbeats.

“She’s probably alive because there was an AED on-site and her mom knew how to use it,” said Dr. Zebulon Zachary Spector, the pediatric cardiologist at Duke University Hospital.

Dr. Adam Kean at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis said that cardiac arrest is incredibly rare, but it still kills many children every year.

“We estimate that one in 30,000 children die of cardiac arrest each year, and that sounds incredibly small,” said Kean. “But that’s still around 2,000 children in the United States each year.”

Here’s a local news video about the incident:

Watch: Mom saves teen daughter’s life after she had cardiac arrest at cheerleading competitionwww.youtube.com

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