Training, Quick Response Saved THS Student
“A kid ran in and said ‘Scrubs, we need you on the field,’” athletic trainer Windee Skrabanek remembered.
That was the beginning of a series of actions that would lead to saving the life of a Temple High School sophomore and, eventually, to Skrabanek receiving a multi-state award from the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association this July.
It began in March 2016, when Temple High football player De’Aveun Banks collapsed while working out. Skrabanek raced out to the stadium and found pandemonium.
“We had just started practices and it was kind of busy, and the kids just started screaming ‘Scrubs! Scrubs! Scrubs!,’” Skrabanek said. “An athletic training student had grabbed the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) that’s right here, because they had seen the panic, and the coaches were hollering — Coach (Scott) Stewart was already calling 911 at that point.”
De’Aveun did not have a history of health problems that would lead to a sudden collapse, but he was suffering from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
“When I arrived, he was down on the field and nonresponsive,” Skrabanek said. “We just did our typical checks for a pulse, breathing — nothing. … The AED had arrived so we put that on and it automatically shocked him — twice — and then prompted for CPR.”
In addition to attempting to shock his heart back into action, the AED monitored De’Aveun’s condition and gave his rescuers instructions on the best time to provide CPR and the best time to step back and let the machine take over.
“(We) did approximately two rounds of CPR, about five minutes, and then it actually prompted to shock him again,” Skrabanek said. “And then, at that point, EMS arrived, so we were pretty blessed because they were here within probably five minutes.”
As frightening as these events were for everyone around him, De’Aveun said in his first interview on the incident he does not actually remember his brush with death.
“I remember I was working out — we were doing cross-fields — and that’s pretty much it,” he said.
Skrabanek, who was present at the interview, wondered if any of the commotion made an impression, even though De’Aveun seemed entirely unconscious.
“Do you remember anything on the field?” she asked him. “Do you feel like you ever heard anything?” … Like me screaming at you, saying ‘De, De, De?’ Nothing?”
“Nothing,” De’Aveun said.
Hospital staff stabilized teen
It would be weeks before De’Aveun would slowly drift back into full consciousness and learn about his close call.
After THS’ athletic staff had kept him alive long enough for an ambulance to arrive, his family had to be called. They were able to reach his mother immediately.
“When he collapsed, I was in the grocery store,” Shanee Banks said.
Her initial reaction was one of shock and confusion, she said. But she was able to rush to the emergency room at Scott & White Medical Center where medical staff tried to prepare her for the shock of seeing her son in treatment.
“When we arrived there, no one was able to see him right off,” Banks said. “The doctor came out and explained to us what we would be seeing when we went in the room and explained, basically, (that) he was hooked up to the life-support machines.”
Skrabanek arrived at the ER not long after Banks. Throughout the process of doing CPR and getting De’Aveun to the ambulance, the veteran trainer was sustained by adrenaline, she said, but that bubble of energy burst when she saw Banks.
“It hadn’t processed until I walked into the back of the ER and his mom was sitting there and I was just like … now I have to look her in the eye and tell her what went down,” Skrabanek said. “That’s her baby in there.”
At the hospital, Skrabanek sat down and started trying to recreate a timeline of what had happened and when, so that De’Aveun’s medical team would know how long it had taken him to get CPR and then travel to the hospital.
“I backtracked with our coaches, the time we called 911, the time the AED was on, the time it shocked, compressions,” Skrabanek said. “The doctors all said that that was truly helpful because that gives them that timeline. … Time’s a critical thing, so we have to be organized.”
Treatment in Houston
De’Aveun was treated at Scott & White for a day and then flown to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Skrabanek followed him a few days later, again to help the doctors add details to their timeline for his collapse and early treatment, this time from the digital record.
“I went down that weekend because they needed the AED,” Skrabanek said. “They pulled all the information and you can see like every second what the heart rhythm was. That was pretty neat.”
Banks said that the early days of her son’s treatment were terrifying, noting that the survival rate for myocarditis is less than 2 percent. “His father, Tommy Banks, was ready to give his son his heart,” Banks said.
But after getting past those early life-threatening stages, De’Aveun still had months of recovery left to go.
“We were basically going back and forth to appointments, making sure everything was good,” Banks said. “When he got home he was wearing a LifeVest; some stuff he didn’t remember and some stuff the memory was kind of back.”
Defibrillator helps ease worries
In December De’Aveun was able to trade in his LifeVest, a wearable defibrillator that is used as a treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Banks said that knowing he has an ICD implanted helps to keep her from worrying too much.
“He has the ICD now — we’re able to do … scans and send it in to his doctor in Houston, and they can review it and see whether or not he’s having any abnormal rhythm,” Banks said. “That’s kind of a reassurance, that we can scan and send it in at any time.”
Although his doctors will not allow him to play, De’Aveun stays an active member of the Wildcats football team.
“He’s at every practice, every event,” Skrabanek said.
Attending practice gives De’Aveun opportunities to do the exercises recommended for a recovering heart patient with the school’s trainers nearby to help, or to fuss when they think he is working too hard.
“The week of our state (title) game … he went to Houston to have a procedure and they implanted an ICD,” Skrabanek said. “And then he ended up riding with us to the game after that. After his procedure I know he was stressing the doctor, (that) he had a game to be at.”
Starting senior year
Now, De’Aveun is about to start his senior year. He has not yet finalized his plans for after graduation.
“I’m still trying to figure that out,” he said. “It’s in the process.”
In the meantime, he continues to focus on maintaining his health, and on enjoying his senior year.
De’Aveun said he is thankful for all the efforts to help him.
“I’m grateful that she saved me, and (to) all the people that were there,” he said.
Banks said she is grateful to have her son.
“I’m just grateful and thankful for the community and the staff at Temple High, and I’m just constantly praying for them,” she said.
“I’m glad that he’s here with us.”
Story Credit: http://www.tdtnews.com/news/article_2f136f84-7a43-11e7-ae23-ebd7adbbd938.html