'It Was Unsettling': Crowd in Shock as Student Collapses at Basketball Game, AED Rushed to Scene


Two high schools gathered in Hartland, Wisconsin, Friday night for a high-stakes basketball game between Arrowhead Union High School and Catholic Memorial.

But the sporting excitement apparently turned to life-or-death drama when a student from one of the schools collapsed in the stands.

A quick response from school staff helped lead to a positive outcome, according to WITI-TV.

“It was unsettling,” said Jeff Staus, a physical education and health teacher.

Staus told WITI he was alerted to the emergency when his son left his seat in the stands to tell him about the sudden emergency involving a male student spectator.

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Staus grabbed one of the school’s automated external defibrillators and joined the athletic trainers and several medical professionals who had been in the audience.

“It was hectic, it was crazy, but everybody even had a piece in what happened.”

The Waukesha County Freeman reported that the victim was a student from Arrowhead High.

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The Freeman reported Staus used the defibrillator on the young man, who a short time later was seen sitting upright on an ambulance gurney. He was “alert and coherent” as he left the gym and he was transported to a nearby hospital, according to the report.

“The great thing is that the kid is OK,” Staus told The Freeman, “But the whole NFL thing (with Damar Hamlin) goes through your mind.”

In January, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and went into cardiac arrest during an NFL Monday Night Football game. Athletic trainers and medical personnel managed to revive him with CPR and an AED.

Responders from Hartland Fire Department arrived within 2 minutes and 35 seconds of the call, according to WDJT-TV, but the student was already “awake and alert” by the time they arrived.

They thanked the Arrowhead High staff for what they called an “exceptional and decisive response” at the game, according to the report.

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Fire department officials said they could not comment on the young man’s medical status.

The basketball game was suspended after Friday night’s incident, leaving 6 minutes and 38 seconds left to play and Arrowhead holding a 56-54 lead, according to The Freeman.

“There’s no way we were going to put the kids back out onto the floor,” Matt Bergan, Catholic Memorial athletic director told the news outlet. “The coaches were emotional. The kids were emotional.”

WITI reported that the rest of the game was played the next day, and Arrowhead won, 77-72.

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.