September 15 is the anniversary of our son, Matt Nader’s SCA. It’s a day I will never forget. Frankly, it’s one I still remember every day. And we have celebrated his second “birthday” for ten years now, because there was a defibrillator on his team’s sideline that day and we were prepared. While his dad and I were busy doing CPR, another teammate’s dad called for it and got it ready to use. Four years prior, it had been donated anonymously to the team, and was always charged and present at every game. We were all prepared to do what was needed to save my son’s life.
Many assumed Matt’s “save” was because we were doctors. Since then Matt has spoken to many groups about the fact that it was not just because we are docs. Trust me. Medical school does not prepare you to do CPR on your own child. Any of us can be prepared to administer CPR and use a defibrillator. All that is needed is the knowledge to do so and the willingness to make it happen.
Recognize SCA (feel for a pulse). Call 911. Start CPR. Use the defibrillator once one is available.
We continue to remind folks to learn CPR. It’s not that hard anymore. You don’t have to take that 8-hour certifying course. The American Heart Association has the CPR Anytime kit. Please order it, and in 30 minutes you can be as prepared as my husband and I were to do CPR on our son. Know where AEDs are in the schools and public places you frequent. Be prepared to ask for them and don’t hesitate to use them. I knew as they placed the pads on my son’s chest, that only if he was in ventricular fibrillation would that defibrillator shock him. Sadly…and fortunately…that’s exactly what it did, confirming my worst fear, while at the same time saving my son’s life.
Today Matt is healthy! Although he was unable to fulfill his commitment to play football for The University of Texas, Mack Brown called him the day after his cardiac arrest to assure him that when he committed to the Longhorns, they committed to him, and he pledged to honor Matt’s scholarship! Matt graduated from The University of Texas in 2011, and upon graduating he was hired by St. Jude Medical, and has worked for them as a Medical Device Sales Representative ever since. After all, he has one of their defibrillators in his chest! This fall he started graduate school in the UT McCombs School of Business Executive MBA program.
Matt has remained active in the promotion of SCA awareness, CPR preparedness, and cardiac screening initiatives through organizations such as the American Heart Association, Championship Hearts Foundation and Parent Heart Watch.
Matt’s Mom Barbara