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A swimmer's heart stopped in the middle of the race but was saved by skilled personnel through CPR

Athlete’s Heart Stops During Race
Athlete’s Heart Stops During Race

The American Heart Association promotes CPR training to more people in the community to respond to cardiac emergencies and reduce cardiac arrest-related deaths.

Ashley Dumais is the person to inquire if you've been watching the Olympic swimming competitions and are wondering why lifeguards are stationed around a pool with so many skilled swimmers.

In one of the swim meets, one of the swimmer's heart stopped in the middle of the race.

The day started off for the then-18-year-old as it did so many other days when she had a swim meet. Early rise, travel to a meet, then swim. About an hour from her home in Hudson, the state swimming competition was held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Ashley started to sink to the bottom of the pool as she completed her lap in the 50-meter freestyle, which is generally her best event. The next swimmer to come off the block was what everyone was paying attention to instead of Ashley.

Ashley had suffered a cardiac arrest without the timer, the coach, or anyone else in the crowd is aware of it.

The crowd quickly became aware and agitated, shouting and pointing. Rich Spear, the timer, dove in, but he was unable to lift her to the surface. Sean McLaughlin, the swim instructor at Alvirne High, hurried to the pool deck. McLaughlin pulled as Spear pushed. She was rescued. Ashley was becoming blue and had no pulse.

Ashley's mother, Bonnie, refers to this group of professionals as the "dream team," and they just so happened to be there among the parents at the meet. They started CPR. The automatic external defibrillator, which was located in another hallway and not by the pool, was retrieved by a UNH student.

Bonnie received a call. They informed her that Ashley had passed out. She was then informed by the high school administration that Ashley had suffered a cardiac arrest.

She hurried to get into her car with her husband, Randy, and drive the hour to Durham.

Ashley, in the meantime, was taken to a facility in Exeter and then promptly flown to Massachusetts General Hospital, where medical professionals employed therapeutic hypothermia to safeguard her organs and reduce the possibility of brain damage.

When Ashley opened her eyes, she scanned the space, trying to make sense of what was going on.

The breathing tube was taken out by the nurses. Ashley's parents inquired about her whereabouts the following day, to which she playfully retorted, "Yeah, because I'm a really lousy swimmer."

Ashley may have a condition known as long QT syndrome, which alters the electrical activity of the heart and is frequently inherited. She had a defibrillator inserted by doctors to control her cardiac rhythm, and she has been fine ever since.

Ashley had never missed a day of school in her entire academic career, but that particular week she had to. She informed her mother that she would have to return to the swim team immediately on the way home from the hospital. They were meeting up, she wished to visit.

The swimmers flocked to her with hugs and tears, all of whom had inscribed Ashley's name on their arms in her tribute.

The emotional outburst, she remarked, "I had not expected that."

Or did the family anticipate receiving a sizable donation? Bonnie was informed by Principal Steven Beals that the faculty and students had raised almost $1,000, but the family didn't need it. Everything had been covered by insurance.

They devised a strategy with the assistance of the principal: What if they invested the funds in AEDs for the school? New Hampshire is one of several states that does not require AEDs in all schools. Nevertheless, according to Bill Wood, the director of procurement for New Hampshire schools, every public school has at least one.

The Dumais family then performed one more act of generosity. Every single kid at the school received CPR instruction on April 21 during a CPR training session.

Ashley received her diploma in June, and Husson University will shortly welcome her. What is Ashley doing for the summer, though, in the interim?

She is working as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the nearby YMCA and knows what it means to have one's life saved.

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