The horrifying scene from Nov. 13 is etched in Dundee-Crown boys basketball coach Lance Huber’s mind.
The Chargers were spread out across the gym, jumping rope to 100 repetitions, when Huber and assistant coach Bob Sweeney heard a thud.
Junior guard Jan Miodowski had collapsed. The next few minutes were frenetic.
Huber and Sweeney checked on Miodowski and sent players to summon trainer Brenna Tschida from the training room on the other side of the gym.
Tschida found that Miodowski’s heart had stopped and sent for the automated external defibrillator. Huber and assistant wrestling coach Connor Lehrke cut off Miodowski’s shirt and practice jersey, and CPR was started.
“Connor was a lifeguard; he did the compressions,” Huber said. “Brenna was amazing. I got everybody out of the gym; our custodian [Jesse Martinez] called 9-1-1. It was a pretty surreal moment.”
Miodowski had suffered two incidents with heart arrhythmia when he was younger, but neither was nearly this serious. An AED shock was administered, which restarted Miodowski’s heart.
When the paramedics arrived about 20 minutes later, Miodowski was conscious and speaking, although he did not remember what happened. In a moment of crisis, tragedy was averted.
Tschida, who works out of ATI Physical Therapy, said she just did everything she had practiced countless times before.
“The best way to describe it is muscle memory,” said Tschida, who is in her third year at D-C. “We go through so many scenarios in training through education during undergrad and even my company now, they provide us with a bunch of programs and different scenarios.
“Looking back now, I didn’t even have to think about it. I just did what you’re trained to do. That’s all you can hope for. I have not given CPR to a live situation with a real athlete. That was my first time, and thankfully it was a positive situation.”
Huber could not say enough about how Tschida performed with an athlete’s life on the line.
“She was unbelievable,” Huber said. “She was amazing. She was under control; she was calm. The way she was able to handle everything was very impressive. She did most of the stuff.”
D-C honored Tschida, Huber, Sweeney, Lehrke, Martinez and D-C athletic director Steve Gertz for their efforts in helping Miodowski at a School District 300 Board meeting last month.
Miodowski did not feel like going to school Nov. 13. He awoke with a stomach ache and might have stayed home had it not been for him just making the varsity basketball team.
When practice started, he did not feel a lot better.
“I told my friend, ‘I don’t really feel good,’ ” Miodowski said. “But it was the first day of practice, and I wanted to go. I remember shooting around and coach [Huber] told us to get jump ropes. I remember when I started jumping, I was seeing dots and feeling dizzy. Once I hit about 70, I stopped, I saw dots everywhere. I looked at Coach and just fell.”
The next thing he remembers is talking to the paramedics.
Miodowski’s previous incidents with arrhythmia did not show up on his D-C medical records, so Huber said there was no warning.
Miodowski missed two weeks of school but says he feels good now. A doctor told him he needs an implantable cardioverter defibrillator in his chest. That device acts like a pacemaker and would shock his heart back into rhythm if he has another incident.
The problem is, to avoid risk of damaging the ICD, he might have to stop playing contact sports. Miodowski played on the Chargers’ junior varsity soccer team in the fall and on the varsity tennis team last spring. With an ICD, he might be forced to give up soccer and basketball.
“I’m going to the doctor with my mom [Zuzanna] to get a second opinion,” Miodowski said. “They’re not really sure what happened. One doctor said I could have a chance to play, but for now, no.”
Miodowski spent time last weekend at a Chicago hospital for tests. He said those tests went well, and doctors are trying to find out more information about his condition.
Huber and others are just thankful for the outcome.
“It was probably a 20-minute ordeal,” Huber said. “That 20 minutes seemed like two hours. We started at 3:15; the paramedics got him out of there at 3:35 or 3:40. The kids are resilient. We didn’t get a lot done the next couple days. They had a lot of questions. They were concerned.”
The AED was sent to its manufacturer in Massachusetts to evaluate its computer. Tschida said there are different rhythms the AED detects, and Miodowski’s was one of three that required a shock.
“The whole situation was just overwhelming,” Tschida said. “You never want to see something like that happen to one of your athletes. You hope for the best. The fact that he was alive and talking [to paramedics] was the best outcome you could have hoped for. The emotion I was feeling was grateful and kind of overwhelmed.”