High School Football Player Suffers Cardiac Arrest During Game


A high school football player suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a game in Surrey, North Dakota, on Sept. 9. Fortunately, medical personnel were able to save the young player’s life and he was flown to a hospital.

Ole Svangstu, part of the Divide County Football team, collapsed as he was headed to a team huddle in the third quarter of the game, KXNET reported.

Medical personnel staffing the game — including the Surrey Ambulance crew, the Trinity sports medicine team and a retired paramedic in the crowd —  immediately went into action, the news outlet reported.

“We rolled the patient over and sports medicine assisted in helping to get the helmet and the pads off,” Marcy Kuhnhenn, a Minot Ambulance paramedic, told KXNET. “The firemen had the [automated external defibrillator], and they were doing compressions and applying that, and I went through the normal CPR routine with the AED.”

After a shock from the defibrillator, the young man responded, she said.

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With his heart beating again, Svangstu was flown to Trinity Hospital in nearby Minot. He was later transferred to the Mayo Pediatric ICU, KXNET reported.

At the Mayo Clinic, Svangstu had surgery to remove an extra pathway in his heart that had been allowing electrical activity to travel in both directions, which was determined to be the cause of his cardiac arrest, KXNET reported.

Divide County School Superintendent Dr. Sherlock Hirning announced that the senior football player is now home after the surgery, KFYR-TV reported.

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“We are fortunate that it turned out for the better and that the appropriate medical care and technology was on hand to revive him,” Hirning told the news outlet.

KXNET spoke with Svangstu’s father, who thanked all those who had helped save his son’s life.

In a Facebook post, the student’s father wrote, “The outcome would have been very different if he hadn’t been that close to an available AED and the people God placed there,” KXNET reported.

Kuhnhenn also noted that this frightening incident, though it had a good outcome, should make everyone aware of safety procedures.

“Whether you’re a parent, a coach, a teacher, a businessperson, take your CPR classes, know where your AEDs are. If you’re a businessman, if you can, get an AED. Have your employees know CPR. Because this could happen anywhere at any time,” Kuhnhenn told KXNET.

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She added that receiving CPR and use of an AED early on in a cardiac episode “is a huge factor in the survival of these people that collapse on the scene,” she added.

The Divide County School District community held a benefit auction to raise funds for the Svangstu family.

Svangstu’s parents have been thankful for all the prayers and support their son and family have received from the community, the outlet reported.

“The outcome of this situation is a testament to the camaraderie of a community that looks out for one another,” KXNET reported.

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