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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When the pieces are in place, it works most of the time.

CLINTON TWP. — A 16-year-old girl collapsed in cardiac arrest during cheerleader tryouts at North Hunterdon High School on Tuesday night and was flown to Morristown Memorial Hospital after receiving CPR from police, school staff and a parent.
She was “awake and doing OK” at the hospital this morning, according to school spokeswoman Maren Smagala. The victim’s mother told police that her daughter suffers from sports-induced asthma, which may have caused the attack.
The school this afternoon issued a statement congratulating the coaches and cheerleaders “for acting quickly and bravely during cheerleading tryouts last night.”
As part of tryouts, the girls were jogging through the hallways of the school when the junior collapsed in a second-floor hallway and went into a seizure, Clinton Township police said. Other girls reported noticing that she was experiencing shortness of breath before she collapsed.
The school told what happened next: Coach Veronica Conly responded quickly to the cheerleader and told cheerleader Lauren Froschhauser to call 9-1-1 on her cell phone. Head Coach Tiffany Slowinski used her two-way radio to advise trainer Karen Korbul of the emergency.
Conly found that the girl had no pulse and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the her. She did about seven cycles of CPR before Coach Allison Arth arrived to help. Arth used the automated external defibrillator (AED) to help revive the girl’s heart. Kelly Strauss, the mother of another girl at the tryouts, also helped with the effort, police said.
By then, Clinton Township Police Officer John Tiger arrived and continued CPR on the cheerleader until the emergency medical personnel arrived. Clinton rescue squad and the Hunterdon Medical Center paramedics arrived and took over reviving the teen.
The State Police Northstar medical airlift helicopter landed around 7:15 p.m. and flew the patient to Morristown Hospital. Around 8 p.m., Slowinski confirmed with the teen’s parents that she was in stable condition.
“Thanks to all the people that were on site helping during the emergency,” Principal Mike Hughes and Athletic Director John Deutsch said in the school’s statement.
“We are very proud at the response and attention that was demonstrated by the coaches and cheerleaders. You’ve demonstrated Lion pride!”
All coaches at North are certified in CPR. Conly is also a certified basic life support (BLS) and first aid trainer.