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After Coach Nearly Dies, Students Learning CPR Early

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BELLE PLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) – By 2014, all children in public schools in Minnesota will be required to have a class in CPR.

But, after a big scare at Belle Plaine Junior/Senior High School earlier this year, students there are already learning how to save lives.

On Friday morning, just about 500 high schoolers took part in a CPR/AED course put on by the Belle Plaine Fire and Police Department, as well as the Ridgeview Medical Center.

At first, it looked like a strange dance. Hundreds of kids yelling, and their bodies moving to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.”

That’s the beat that’s now used to do CPR and the beat that helped save teacher and football coach Ken Wick’s life.

The last thing Wick remembers from Sept. 11, 2012 is heading to his seventh grade football practice. He had been watching warm-ups when another coach told him he went down.

“Honestly, I thought he had just passed away on the football field,” said coach Joe Ploetz.

Coach Ploetz called 911 while another assistant coach began CPR. Neither could find a pulse as students watched from the sidelines.

“It was pretty scary,” sophomore Joe Hankins said.

Within three minutes, a Belle Plaine police officer had arrived to shock life back into Wick. He was airlifted to the hospital.

Now, two months later, he has a defibrillator and is back at school. Today, he decided to share his story.

“I’m blessed to be here today,” he told the students who had gathered in the gym after learning how to perform CPR and work an AED.

Doctors told Wick that people who had cardiac arrests in rural areas have, on average, a 4 percent chance of making it to the hospital and surviving. According to the American Heart Association, early CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

“Someone who knew how to do CPR saved my life,” said Wick. “If I could help convince kids it’s a valuable skill to have, perhaps they could save a life.”

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