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Seventeen-year-old athlete succumbed to cardiac arrest when nobody was there to help

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

When no one was around to help, a seventeen-year-old athlete died of cardiac arrest
When no one was around to help, a seventeen-year-old athlete died of cardiac arrest

When Dylan Dorrell was in kindergarten he ran a 5K race with his mother and fell in love with running.

When he turned seventeen, after completing a cross-country practice in a neighborhood park in Denton, Texas, he went to the restroom to wash his hands but he never came out.

Dylan was in the restroom by himself when he succumbed to cardiac arrest, sadly, nobody was there to help him.

This incident was in stark contrast to what happened to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin during a recent Monday Night Football game.

According to Dylan Dorrell's mother, Lisa Dorrell, "We don't know how long he was down until he was recovered." "Once he was located, the coach and another athlete started CPR right away, but you saw it happen on TV (with Hamlin), and it makes a difference," the coach said.

Lisa, a physical education teacher, received a call from Dylan's coach when she was attending in-service training at the school. They had been close friends since her undergraduate days for about 20 years. She realized something was awry when he addressed her as "Ms. Dorrell." Dylan is unconscious, according to the coach. The call was dropped because of poor reception.

Lisa quickly ran to her car after grabbing her purse. However, she was unsure of where to go. When she dialed the coach's phone again, a paramedic picked up.

He responded, "Ms. Dorrell, your son is not breathing and has no pulse."

Lisa continued driving while turning on her hazard lights and managed to call her husband, Gus Dorrell, and ask him to head to the hospital.

The couple arrived before the ambulance and witnessed emergency personnel take Dylan inside. Doctors worked on him for about 45 minutes, performing CPR and giving him medication.

What caused the cardiac arrest remains unanswered for the Dorrells.

A heart examination at age 15 revealed no issues. The medical examiner told Lisa that although she discovered some scar tissue in Dylan's left ventricle, which was suspected to have resulted from a severe attack of pneumonia in the fourth grade, "This shouldn't have caused death."

Gus remarked, "It still doesn't feel right. "When you learn that your child is 1 in a million where this could happen, it doesn't make you feel good."

To help prevent another child from suffering a similar tragedy, the family established the #RunForDylan Foundation in the midst of their grief. Additionally, it enables them to carry on the tradition of their kid, a quiet, eccentric Star Wars aficionado who created his own green lightsaber using parts found at Goodwill and materials learned on YouTube. Dylan enjoyed singing while taking his evening strolls, loved cartoons and video games, and wasn't scared to be himself.

Gus remarked, "He was proud of being the nerd he was.”

On Dylan's 19th birthday, the foundation installed its first AED in the park where he passed out. The family will plant flowers at a memorial tree in his honor at his elementary school.

The #RunForDylan 5K is an annual event started by the foundation to generate funds and educate people about cardiac arrest, CPR, and the use of AEDs.

HealthForce Training Center supports the American Heart Association in promoting CPR training to reduce the number of cardiac arrest-related deaths in the community.

This article on which CPR training is for you will help you choose which CPR course is for you.


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