Waunakee teen talks life-saving rescue on court and need for add - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Waunakee teen talks life-saving rescue on court and need for additional AED devices at schools

Posted: Updated:

WAUNAKEE (WKOW) -- It's been nearly two months since a Waunakee teen's heart stopped at a West Allis Basketball game. His life was saved thanks to fast-acting first responders, CPR and an automated external defibrillator, also known as an AED.

In his first sit-down interview since that December day at the Holiday Hoops Classic, Michael Saxby says it's still all a blur.

"I just blacked out," the 16-year-old said about a vague recollection of even the day's activities. 

Mom, Molly, knew the moment it happened, it wasn't good.

"I just kept saying this was a nightmare," she said about the scary situation.  "I look at them and see them pumping his chest," Molly added.  Her son would need more than just CPR because he has a heart disease called HCM, or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

First responders say Michael Saxby is one of three percent of student athletes needing an AED to be revived.

"Everybody was on top of their game," Michael's JV Basketball Coach Jeff Knatz said.

 "It was the perfect chain of people that saved Michael's life," Coach Knatz added.

Molly knows that's true because nobody knew her son had the heart condition.

"It could have happened at home, at practice, but with the trainer right there..it would have been a completely different story," Molly said. 

In Michael's story, however, he had surgery and was released from Milwaukee's Children's Hospital last month.  The teen is recovering and while he's been sidelined, he still is a member of his JV Basketball team.  The sophomore is also taking time now to champion AED devices.  While state law requires all schools to have at least one, he's hoping his story will help the WIAA encourage schools to add additional AED devices.

"It may seem like it's not needed cause nobody ever really sees things like this happen, but the one time it happens you're gonna want it there cause it can help save a life," Michael said.

WIAA Deputy Director Wade Labecki says the WIAA Medical Advisory council is also placing an added emphasis on developing and implementing emergency prevention plans.  He says while AEDs used to cost $3,000, now they are much more reasonable.

"Now they are getting down to the $12 to $1,500 range," Labecki said.  "They are still a lot of money, but it's easier now because you can now get two or three for the price of one."

At Waunakee High, Michael's school now boasts five AEDs, but Waunakee Athletic Trainer Matt Uftring says they would like to see them added at all venues.

"Anywhere there are large groups of people," Uftring said.  "it doesn't have to be a sporting event, it could be a musical," he added.

Uftring says there is even work being done to have trainers take them to sporting events across Waunakee High's campus.  He says they're easy to use to save a life.

"I think my 7-year-old would be able to do it, it's got pictures, diagrams," he added.

Michael says he's just grateful the device was there for him and hopefully for others if the need should arise.

"Gotta have an AED, don't be afraid to act," Michael said.

Waunakee High plans to go the extra mile when it comes to taking care of their student athletes.  On March 3rd, it will host a Heart Healthy Screening with the help of AED Superstore.

Powered by Frankly