Staff saves teen who had heart attack during volleyball game

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — A 17-year-old who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a volleyball game says she’s alive because those around her knew just what to do.

Claire Crawford’s parents were recording the moment the teen fell to the ground at Loganville Christian Academy. You see the teen serve the ball, then suddenly grab her chest and collapse.

Staff and coaches at the school rushed to her and immediately went into live-saving mode, calling 911 and grabbing the AED, or automated external defibrillator.

“I remember slowly going black. I don’t remember hitting the floor so I was our before hitting the floor,” Crawford told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie.

Academic Deam Julie Sirmans runs off to grab the defibrillator.

“(I) very quickly grabbed the AED, which was just about 35 steps away from where Claire had fallen. I took the AED back to Claire. We opened it up, turned it on, we got the pads on her and then the AED began to prompt us,” Sirmans said.

Crawford’s parents were by her side the whole time.

“She was very clinched up and kind of blank looking and not any color at all in her face. (I was) very scared. I don't think I've ever been so scared and I've had some scary things,” Crawford’s mother, Lisa, said.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta posted the video on their Facebook page promoting Project S.A.V.E. Drill Day this Friday with the hope of getting everyone prepared should a student or teacher go into sudden cardiac arrest. In less than a day it's been viewed 1.5 million times.

“They make a great wall decoration but if you don't know how to use them and it's not working it’s useless,” Claire’s dad, Eric Crawford, said.

“We’re grateful. We feel God was in control and he put us where we supposed to be and there were no coincidences,” Lisa Crawford said.

Claire’s parents say every parent should make sure an AED is nearby when students are competing and they should know CPR.

“Without the AED there's no way I would've made it and the ambulance wouldn’t have gotten here on time,” Claire Crawford said.

The Crawford family doesn’t have a history of cardiac problems, but Claire says there were symptoms before her heart attack. She says she had pain in her shoulder and had surgery for it, but the burning sensation continued.

She went to several doctors before the game but not one caught it. It’s still unclear what caused her to go into cardiac arrest.

“I have no medical history, my wife doesn't have medical history in our families that would cause this you just don't know,” Eric Crawford said.

Doctors found several unexplained blockages while diagnosing Claire at CHOA. They then sent her to Emory where she underwent a triple bypass surgery.

Just 17 years old, Claire went into sudden cardiac arrest during a volleyball game. Fortunately, through Project...

Posted by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on Monday, February 1, 2016

Comments on this article