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Days after Taking CPR Class, Vice Principal Saves Student's Life

Cameras were rolling when a Utah 9th grader's heart stopped during gym class and he collapsed to the ground. Cameras were also rolling when the teen's vice principal and a school officer began CPR and saved his life. It's a scene that could have ended in tragedy, if not for the quick actions of school administrators who rushed to his aid. It was one week ago, Oct. 14, Skyler Nelson, 14, was starting his day at West Jordan Middle School in gym class. The students were warming up and running laps at about 8 a.m. when Skyler suddenly fell to the ground. "He just dropped," said physical education teacher Alan Nakagama, who went over to see what was wrong. At first he thought Skyler was joking around, but when he got closer, he knew things were serious. "I rolled him over; he was gasping for air. His eyes were in the top of his head," said Nakagama. School Principal Dixie Garrison arrived on scene and had someone call 911. "It was horrifying; your worst nightmare," said Garrison, as she rewatched the scene on surveillance video. The video shows Skyler running around at a normal pace. Suddenly, he starts to slow down and then drops. "As I'm watching now, I just can't believe his life was in our hands," said Garrison. "He had essentially died right there in our gym. He wasn't with us. He was gone." That's when Vice Principal Eric Price arrived and started CPR. "The pulse was hard to find," said Price. "At the time, the adrenaline kicks in, and you just do what you're trained to do." Just 10 days earlier, Price had taken a CPR refresher course and knew exactly what to do. "It was definitely fresh on my mind," he said. School Resource Officer David Hood also helped Price preform CPR. Between the two of them, they were able to bring Skyler back to life. "Knowing [Skyler], especially, effects you, but you have a job to do," Hood said. West Jordan firefighter Matt Birch, who teaches CPR, says this kind of training in critical for school employees. "The fact that they were CPR trained was crucial for this patient's survival," said Birch. According to the family and doctors at Primary Children's Hospital, Skyler was born with a heart defect that is genetic in his family. But he says he's never had any signs of heart problems and had just had a physical at that first of the month, where he checked out to be completely healthy, according to his mom, Lori Edmunds. He is now awaiting surgery, when doctors will put a defibrillator inside of him to shock his heart back into beating, should this happen again. "He's going to have a full recovery, and I'm so grateful," his mom told 2News. Skyler knows just how lucky he is. "I'd like to say thank you very much," he said. "I'm grateful. God bless you."