15-Year-Old Boy Collapses During Basketball Game, Heart Stops - Bystander Administers CPR


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A New Jersey teenager was enjoying playing a basketball game with his school team Jan. 7 when he suddenly found himself in cardiac distress.

John Maro, an eighth-grader at St. James School in Basking Ridge, had a stellar start in the game at the Auten Road Intermediate School in Hillsborough, the regional cable news channel News 12 New Jersey reported.

The 15-year-old had scored four points in the first two minutes when he suddenly collapsed on the court, St. James basketball coach John Travers told the outlet.

John’s father and other parents rushed onto the court and began performing CPR, News 12 reported.

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Travers called 911, and officers from the Hillsborough Police Department responded within minutes.

“Responding officers learned that the male was unresponsive, did not have a pulse and was not breathing,” the department said in a news release.

A defibrillator was made available to assist with getting John’s heart to start again.

After one shock, he “regained a pulse and began breathing on his own,” the release said.

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The teen was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was in stable condition, police said.

That Monday, Travers told News 12 the boy was doing well.

“Johnny was sitting up in the hospital bed,” the coach said. “He was actually able to sit on the side of the bed this morning and was, you know, talking with his parents, myself.

“It just put the biggest smile on my face.”

According to the outlet, family members said John was born with pulmonary valve stenosis, which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a narrowing of the valve between the lower right heart chamber and the lung arteries.”

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However, the teen had a valve transplant two years ago, and doctors had cleared him to play basketball.

“Maro’s father says that this medical issue had nothing to do with his son’s collapse on the court,” News 12 reported. “The parents say this is concerning because they now need to figure out what happened.”


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The report said John was being transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where doctors will try to figure out the cause of his collapse.

The teen is one of several young athletes who have been in the news lately for sudden cardiac distress.

The most notable is Damar Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety for the Buffalo Bills who collapsed on the field in Cincinnati during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Bengals on Jan. 2.

Hamlin got immediate aid from an assistant trainer, who performed CPR and likely saved his life.

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