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Fast-acting teens tap CPR training

Todd Beamer High School students Alex Schultz, left, and Erica Duffy used the skills they learned in a sports medicine class to administer life-saving CPR and first aid to a pedestrian struck by a car in Federal Way. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Todd Beamer High School students Alex Schultz, left, and Erica Duffy used the skills they learned in a sports medicine class to administer life-saving CPR and first aid to a pedestrian struck by a car in Federal Way.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Alex Schultz, a junior at Todd Beamer High School, remembers her sports medicine class teacher telling her she would need to use CPR skills someday.

She just didn’t realize it would be the following week.

It was about 7 p.m. Jan. 25. Schultz was riding in a car with friends to the Todd Beamer High School basketball game.

Erica Duffy, a passenger in the front seat, and the driver saw the disaster first. A man walking across Pacific Highway South was struck by a car near South 356th Street. The driver was going at least 40 mph.

The victim cart-wheeled in the air three times before collapsing on the sidewalk about 50 feet away.

“Me and Jennifer started screaming,” Duffy said.

Schultz sprung into action.

“She was like, ‘Let me out, I can help him,’” Duffy said.

Schultz had practiced this scenario in Jim Dillon’s sports medicine class at Todd Beamer many times. Duffy learned first aid at Todd Beamer the year before.

Schultz sprinted over to the crash victim with Duffy following close behind. She saw the driver holding the victim on the sidewalk and identified herself as a sports medicine student who knew CPR.

“He had an open head injury and it was bleeding everywhere,” Schultz said. “There was, like, 12 people standing around him but nobody was helping.”

Schultz said she knelt down to check the man’s breathing and pulse while Duffy solicited the gathering crowd for supplies.

“We yelled, ‘Does anybody have a sweatshirt or anything we can use to stop the bleeding,’” Duffy said.

The victim was unconscious and wheezing. Then he stopped breathing.

Schultz lifted his shirt to his armpits and began performing compressions on the victim’s chest. The driver of the car performed the breaths.

“It was different than in class. Everything happened so fast,” Schultz said.

A man arrived and volunteered to take over the CPR, Schultz said.

A Federal Way police officer was performing CPR when firefighters arrived, said Kendra Kay, spokeswoman for South King Fire and Rescue.

The victim, a 41-year-old man from Algona, was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He remained in Harborview on Monday, Kay said.

“We encourage folks to learn CPR so that they can help out mostly the people that are close to them,” Kay said. “It’s nice that people went far beyond that to help out a stranger on the street. More people should learn it.”

“Any time that CPR can be started right away, it’s going to be better for the patient,” Kay said.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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