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Defibrillator Helps Save Basketball Referee

January 28, 2011, 6:02 PM by David Brown

Defibrillator Helps Save Basketball Referee
SIOUX FALLS, SD - It could have been anyone on the court or in the crowd, but Thursday night, it was a referee who needed medical help at a basketball game when he started having heart problems. But thanks to an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, that ref is still alive.

Thursday's girl's basketball game at O'Gorman High School seemed like just another contest in a long basketball season. But, when the game reached halftime, the action off the court got much more attention than anything on the court.
PUBLIC ACCESS DEFIBRILLATORS

• 1,000 in locations across Sioux Falls
• 2,500 to 3,000 community members learn how to use each year
• Every minute a person is in cardiac arrest and their heart isn't beating, their chances of surviving drop by 10 percent

Source: Jim Sideras, SFFR
 

Referee Dan Sudbeck was part of a three-man crew working Thursday's O'Gorman/Yankton basketball game. He retreated to the coach's lounge at halftime and sat down in this chair. But soon, his fellow refs noticed Sudbeck was slumping to the floor. Trainer Rochelle Lauret came in from the other room with the school's defibrillator. 

"I had the shirt cut straight up and had the AED on him immediately," Lauret said. "And then, the machine just takes care of everything after that. It assesses whether there's a shockable heart rhythm, so it just took care of it and told me what to do basically."

"Our referees' room is five feet from the defibrilator in our training room, so the logistics were fine, but just having them in the building, I can see now that can save lives," O'Gorman athletic director Steve Kueter said.

Kueter says Lauret's been a trainer for the Knights for more than a decade. And her quick thinking made the best out of a very bad situation. 

"I usually have it on the bench with me at the game and it's underneath my chair," Lauret said. "But that night, I had not taken it out there with me for some reason. And so, I just grabbed it, I was probably 15 feet away from him with my AED."

O'Gorman has three defibrillators on campus, provided by local health partners. While Lauret's been trained with them, Thursday night was the first time she had had ever used one in an emergency. 

"The further away from it I get, the more freaked out I get," Lauret said. "But I also told my family I want to carry it with me everywhere I go. I just feel like I have to have it with me now because I'm like, you never know."

The scene on Thursday night not only reminded people of the importance of a defibrillator, but of life in general. 

"It makes you rethink a lot of things," Kueter said. "And the idea of providing the equipment and providing the training has always been there, but now it's just become much more of a priority in our minds from last night how good that is."

The Sudbeck family released a statement Friday afternoon thanking everyone for their prayers and concerns.  Dan underwent bypass surgery and is currently resting.


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