MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Rosemount High School girls’ basketball coach says he is alive today because a fellow teacher was in the right place at the right time.
Coach Chris Orr had just finished running laps with his physical education students when he collapsed.
Fortunately for him, fellow gym teacher Tracy Cassano decided to use her prep hour to run in the gym.
Tracy administered CPR to Chris and assisted others in using a defibrillator on him.
“I could have been driving in a car, you know, just anywhere. I could … been out for a walk outside at school,” Chris said. “It’s kind of eerie in a sense but that’s the one place I really needed to be.”
Chris has a wife and two young daughters.
“His LED artery was 99-percent blocked, so if his co-worker wasn’t right there, immediately ready to do CPR, and there wasn’t an AED right outside the gymnasium, then he definitely wouldn’t still be here,” said Amber Orr, Chris’ wife.
The girls’ basketball team wore shoe strings that were green, his favorite color, to their game the next day. They won.
The team is playing in the section finals Thursday night. It is the third year in a row Rosemount has faced their rival Eastview in this game. Eastview won the last two times.
Coach Orr will be there, but not the animated, energetic version they’ve grown to know. His doctors have advised him to avoid stress.
“I know that during games his blood pressure most likely is high,” Amber said. “He sweats all the time as you can see. He’s sweating now. But that’s just him.”
Chris says he will take it a little easier on Thursday night.
“I’m going to go there, I’m going to ride the bus up and I’m going to kind of be in an assistant-coaching role, as far as just sitting on the bench, as long as I continue to feel well,” Chris said.
He only spent one night in the hospital after his heart attack. Doctors were able to put in a stent to unblock that clogged artery.
Orr is 33 years old, and has no family history of heart disease.