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I learned CPR with my kids. Then, my 14-year-old used it to save his friend's life.

Mom and son posing for photo
Marlana Hodgins and her son Trevor, who performed CPR on his friend after he collapsed and saved his life.
  • Marlana Hodgins helped her kids learn CPR in the family living room.
  • About two years later, her son Trevor used CPR after a friend collapsed.
  • Doctors say Trevor's actions probably saved his friend's life.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Marlana Hodgins and her son, Trevor. It has been edited for length and clarity.

About two years ago a dear family friend had a pulmonary embolism, a block in the arteries that provide blood to the heart. He went into cardiac arrest and his wife did CPR. Our friend survived, but with severe brain damage.

Despite the sad outcome, the incident underscored how important CPR can be. My husband Steven is a state trooper and CPR instructor for fellow officers. After our friend's incident he brought home his CPR dummies and taught me and our three kids how to do CPR in our living room. I had been CPR certified as a teen, but my kids — who are now 12, 14 and 16 — were learning for the first time.

I never imagined that my middle son, Trevor, would soon be using his skills to save a life right in our home.

My son's wrestling teammate collapsed at our house

My boys love to wrestle. We have a home gym that we call The Barn, with a treadmill, weights, and a wrestling area, so it's normal for kids on the high school wrestling team to stop by. On the morning of May 10th two of my sons' fellow wrestlers came over: Giovanni Scafidi and J.J Machnik, a senior who was captain of the team.

The boys headed into the basement, while Trevor was still upstairs. I was in the kitchen when I heard the treadmill start. About five minutes later I heard a crash, then Giovanni screaming J.J.'s name. The way he said it I knew something was very wrong.

J.J had wrestled with my older son since they were little, and I knew he had a heart condition. I dialed 911 before I even got to the basement.

Trevor started CPR while I spoke to 911

Trevor had run down from his room, and he and Giovanni were taking care of J.J. — rolling him onto his back and getting some of his bulky clothes off him — while I spoke with the 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher kept asking if J.J. was breathing. At first he was, but the next time I asked, the boys paused to listen for breath and heard nothing.

That's when Trevor stepped into action. He was only in eighth grade but he gave J.J. chest compressions, and prompted Giovanni for when to give rescue breaths. The boys kept up CPR until the first responders arrived about five minutes afterward. Later, in the hospital, doctors and nurses said the efficient CPR that Trevor delivered likely saved J.J.'s life.

A police officer tried to prepare me for the worst

At that point, though, we didn't know if J.J. would make it. I had called his mother, Laura, as soon as I hung up with 911. I was in auto-pilot, and told her that J.J. had collapsed and she had to get to my house immediately. She was about 20 minutes away at work.

Trevor, Giovanni, and I went upstairs to give the first responders room to work on J.J. We later learned they intubated him right in the basement and continued CPR the whole time.

After a while one of the police came up to talk to me. I think he was trying to prepare me. They were doing their best, but J.J.'s heart was working against them. Even with a shock from the AED, it wouldn't continue beating.

Laura arrived just as J.J. was loaded into the ambulance. As they went to the hospital, the boys and I were left at home, shocked and praying.

We visited J.J. in the hospital on his 19th birthday

Throughout the day, Laura called me with updates. I was afraid to answer the phone each time, because the prognosis wasn't good. There was hope though, since J.J. was able to see Dr. Matthew Martinez, who specializes in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the heart condition that J.J. has.

Finally, two days after the accident, we started to get better news: J.J. was still on life support, but it looked like he was going to live.

On J.J.'s birthday, exactly one week after he collapsed, he called me, Steven, and Trevor to ask us to visit him at the hospital. He was turning 19. Steven and I cried when we heard his voice. After two weeks J.J. was discharged. He was able to go to the prom and his wrestling banquet. At that dinner, J.J.'s dad pulled Trevor aside to thank him.

When I think about what Trevor did, I have no words. I'm so grateful that Steven taught the kids how to react in an emergency. Dr. Martinez told us that early CPR was key in J.J.'s survival. There are adults that can't handle doing CPR, but my son was so calm under pressure. Trevor wants to be a doctor in the future, and I have no doubt he can handle it.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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