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Valencia students get valuable CPR training

School's Sports Medicine course has already helped save one student's life this school year

Posted: January 21, 2014 4:37 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2014 4:37 p.m.

Valencia students, from left, Elena Subbotin, Caley Mike and Kianna Galli practice chest compressions during an advanced heart training course in the Sports Medicine class at Valencia High School. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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Sports Medicine students at Valencia High School learned the true value of their life-saving course first-hand early this school year when they grabbed a defibrillator and saved the life of a fellow student.

Chibuzo Ikonte, a promising member of Valencia’s varsity basketball team, is alive today thanks in part to the fast action of students enrolled in the school’s program who knew how to use a defibrillator.

Recently, more than a dozen additional Valencia High School students learned how it was done during a crash course in saving lives. They practiced resuscitating head-and-torso mannequins and tiny football-sized baby mannequins with the understanding the victims could one day be real.

They were shown how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation and shown how to use an automated external defibrillator.

Training was provided by the National HART Foundation and led by one of its founders, Los Angeles Fire Department Captain and paramedic trainer Thomas Stafford.

“All these things are new to you, but at the end when you’re all done you’ll feel very comfortable and you’ll be able use it in real life like they did back in September when that nice young man was saved by you guys — the Sports Medicine kids,” Stafford told the class.

“That’s what this is all about,” he said. “That you use this in real life.”

On Sept. 25, the 6-foot-4 Ikonte collapsed in the school’s gymnasium during basketball practice.

Sports Medicine students responded immediately to the emergency — the way they’ve been trained.

Coach Joe Monteleone — who heads the program and credits the Sports Medicine students for helping save Ikonte’s life — told students during the National HART Foundation training that Ikonte is fine and doing extremely well at school.

“These students are one step away from working with athletes on campus,” Monteleone said, but he added the ability to save lives through skills learned in the class reaches far beyond campus. Trained students have the ability to resuscitate anyone, including infants.

Superior Life Support Inc. donated the mannequins and equipment used in the training.
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