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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Once in a while, CPR is enough...but don't count on it!

Central Catholic's Hayward Demison 'just happy to be alive' -- 9/12 1:51 a.m.
Hayward Demison had just made the biggest play of his life, running 45 yards for the go-ahead touchdown for Central Catholic's football team Friday night.

Moments later, though, Demison lay unconscious on the sideline, no longer breathing, his heart stopped, as medical personnel worked to save his life.

“It was the scariest thing I've ever been a part of,” Central Catholic football coach Steve Pyne said.

Demison, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound high school junior, was diagnosed with athletic asthma two years ago. So after his touchdown run, when his heart raced and he struggled to catch his breath, he sent for his inhaler. After using it, though, his heart only accelerated. Nauseated and dizzy, he lost his balance and leaned on assistant coach Woody Green.

“He was gasping for air like it was his last breath,” Green said.

He was having a heart attack.

“I just fell on the ground,” Demison said. “I don't remember anything else except waking up a few minutes later, and people are standing over me, and I'm in shock. I'm trying to get up, and everybody's saying, 'Stay there. Calm down.' I looked to my left and saw everybody, and they were crying.”

Demison's heart had stopped for about two minutes. But thanks to the quick action of cardiac nurse Lisa Lyver, who came down from the stands at West Linn High School and performed CPR, he was resting comfortably at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on Saturday.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” Demison said. “The person that gave me CPR saved my life. I'm very thankful. I'm truly blessed. It was a close call.”

Tests have revealed that Demison's left coronary artery wasn't supplying his heart with enough blood during exertion, according to his father, Hayward Demison II. Although the younger Demison didn't sustain heart damage from the heart attack, he will have surgery in about two weeks for the existing condition and should be able to make a full recovery within six months, allowing him to return to the football field in his senior year.

“Hopefully I'll be back, after everything is taken care of,” he said.

Tragedy was narrowly averted.

Lyver said that by the time paramedics would have arrived at West Linn High School -- where Central Catholic beat Canby 28-24 on Friday night thanks to Demison's fourth-quarter score -- it probably would have been too late to save Demison. And Lyver said that Demison was fortunate that the 60 or so chest compressions she performed were enough to restore his pulse.

“In training, they tell you that you need a defibrillator for people to come back, because they just don't come back with CPR,” Lyver said. “So he is absolutely one of the luckiest ones.”

Demison had dizzy spells and shortness of breath two years ago as a freshman at Gresham High School. He went to the doctor and was told he had athletic asthma. He got a much different diagnosis this weekend.

“The doctor explained that this is a defect he's had for years,” his father said. “He's like one out of 100,000 kids that this happens to so late in his life. I'm just disappointed because it was a ticking time bomb. Thank God there was someone there to give him CPR and they were able to get him to the hospital, because what if he had been out jogging and collapsed with nobody around?”

Demison collapsing on the sideline with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter didn't draw much attention at first, even among his teammates, many of whom knew about Demison's treatment for asthma.

But it caught the eye of Pyne's wife, Erica, who was sitting with Lyver, a neighbor whose husband, Troy, is Central Catholic's team statistician.

“I thought, 'You know, maybe I should just head down there,’ " Lyver said. “By the time I got to the track, I saw that they were lifting his legs up and I thought, 'Well, this is kind of right up my alley. This might be something I might be able to help with.’ "

She asked the team's orthopedist, Dr. Jack O'Shea, if the medical staff needed help, and he agreed. They told her of Demison's history of asthma.

“I'm looking at him and I'm thinking, 'It sure doesn't look like an asthma attack,' " Lyver said. “And I looked at his eyes and there was absolutely no reaction. He wasn't breathing.”

Demison also didn't have a pulse. Lyver has worked for 16 years at Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin, but never has been in charge of resuscitating a patient. This time, though, she took the lead, performing chest compressions. After about 60 compressions, and two rescue breaths from O'Shea, Demison's heart started beating again.

The game continued, and few were aware of the drama that had unfolded. Lyver said that nearby teammates even tried to help Demison to his feet before she made it clear that he was going to the hospital. Demison was groggy at first but regained his bearings enough to give a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was taken to the ambulance.

Hayward Demison II, a delivery driver, was in Port Angeles, Wash., on Friday night when he received a call from Green at about 9:30. By then, his son was stable, but the emotion in Green's voice told the story.

“He was telling me that he saw Hayward with his eyes rolling back in his head,” Hayward Demison II said. “He thought that he was gone. He was really scared. It really scared him.”

Said Green: “He was in my arms and I thought he was gone. We were saying, 'C'mon 21, c'mon Hayward, fight.' "

Demison's stepmother, Linda, who wasn't at the game, also received a call from Green and left to join him at the hospital. Central Catholic's coaches and players prayed for Demison on the field after the game, and most of the team -- Pyne counted 47 players -- visited him in the hospital Friday night.

Hayward Demison II made it to the hospital early Saturday morning, with a copy of the sports page that mentioned Demison's winning touchdown. He woke him up and showed it to him.

“He was like, 'Dad, I didn't get to see ‘Friday Night Lights’ last night,' " Hayward Demison II said, referring to a local television highlights show. “He was told by a lot of people he was on there.”

Perhaps he will make it on the local football highlights show next season.

“Football is his passion,” Steve Pyne said of Demison, who transferred to Central Catholic, a private school in Southeast Portland, from Gresham this year. “He has a lot of talent, and he's an extremely hard-working young man. He's a kid that can play at the next level, in my opinion.”

Thanks to Lyver, he should get a chance to find out.

“We really want to thank her,” Hayward Demison II said. “Thank God she was there.”

Said Lyver: “It was where I was supposed to be. Seventeen-year-olds aren't supposed to die, especially on the football field.”