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Portable defibrillator helps save Christian school coach’s life in Tennessee


Joey Spann

From the American Heart Association:

When coach Joey Spann’s heart stopped at mid-court during a high school basketball game in Nashville, bystanders were at his side within seconds with the device that saved his life. An automated external defibrillator, or AED, sat ready in a cabinet less than 50 feet away.
It wasn’t luck that an AED was within reach: A Tennessee state law passed in April 2010 required that schools owning the emergency, heart-shocking devices place at least one inside its gym. Nearly half of all states in the U.S. have passed legislation involving AEDs and schools, and at least six other states are considering joining the list. …
When Spann collapsed during a game at David Lipscomb High School in February, nurses who had been in the bleachers rushed to the court to perform high-quality CPR. With one shock from the AED, Spann’s heart started beating again and he woke up. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery the next morning. The school said Spann is doing well and hopes to return to campus later this month.
Lipscomb is a private school – and therefore technically beyond the reach of the Tennessee law. But Lipscomb administrators decided it was good policy and moved its AED into the gym after the law was enacted.
Spann coaches at Goodpasture Christian School, which is also private. Goodpasture athletic trainer Chris Snoddy said the school already had three AEDs on campus before Spann’s cardiac arrest.

Lipscomb and Goodpasture both are associated with Churches of Christ.
While covering the recent National Christian School Association annual conference in San Antonio, The Christian Chronicle asked Ricky Perry, Goodpasture’s president and CEO, how God is blessing that school.
Perry’s reply:

God continues to bless our school with beautiful children whom he allows a dedicated, devoted faculty to nuture and guide.  This year we give God the glory for his working in us to supply over 30 nonprofit and church pantries with over $100,000 of food from our annual food drive. I am so proud of our teachers and students who have served our community by reading to neighboring schools’ children and enriching their educational experiences.
Most striking to us was when our head girls’ basketball coach suffered cardiac arrest during halftime of our regional tournament game and stopped breathing with no heartbeat and God worked through attendees at the game to save his life. God allowed coach Spann’s life to continue though nurses, a doctor, an AED and trainers who were at the game.

Read a September 2010 Chronicle blog post on an AED saving a life at an Alabama church.

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