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CPR saves teen's life after his heart stopped

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What was meant to be a fun summer day at the pool turned tragic when 16-year-old Wyatt Schmidt went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating for 10 minutes.

But now, nearly two weeks after the incident, the Vallivue High School student is living and breathing, and family and friends are calling him a walking miracle.

Medical experts say Wyatt's heart went into ventricular fibrillation and that Wyatt over-exerted himself while he was swimming and didn't get enough oxygen, but doctors don't know exactly why it caused his heart to malfunction. Doctors didn't think Wyatt would bounce back so fast since he was unresponsive, fighting for his life in the hospital for four days.

KTVB spoke to Wyatt and his family Thursday about who and what saved his life.

"It's like it was all a dream, I can't even believe it happened," Wyatt's mother, Brandy Schmidt, said.

Wyatt is a devoted football and baseball player, he's active and healthy and has never had problems with his heart; but on the night of July 7, a terrifying incident rattled his life.

"Everything was life-changing for all of us that night," Brandy added.

Wyatt had a few friends over and was swimming back and forth under water in the pool. He came up for air and said his chest hurt. Then, he sank down to the bottom.

"My friend just thought I was playing around because I do that. But I guess I didn't come up for a while," Wyatt explained. "I don't remember much from that day."

But when his friend realized it wasn't a joke, he dove under and pulled Wyatt up and out of the water. His friends screamed for Wyatt's parents who rushed out and told them to call 911.

"At that time he didn't have a pulse," Brandy added.

Canyon County dispatcher Marisa Rayborn answered the call.

"We knew he didn't have a pulse and that we needed to get CPR started," Rayborn told KTVB. "They put me on speaker phone and we explained it and I said we are going to do 600 compressions and we just went from there."

"Even somebody who knows how to do CPR - that can out the window when it's your kid," Rayborn added. "You just to do everything that you can to keep them calm, keep them focused on what they need to do to save their life."

Brandy says she, a neighbor and an officer that arrived on scene performed CPR for about nine minutes until paramedics got there.

Wyatt was unconscious, not breathing, he had no heartbeat: he was lifeless.

"For all practical purposes, when somebody's heart is not beating effectively like this, yes, they are effectively dead at that point," Canyon County Paramedics Deputy Chief of Training Steve Blandos told KTVB. "Could just be one of those anomalies that could happen anytime, anywhere."

Blandos says by his mom and other bystanders performing CPR, they bought Wyatt time by circulating blood especially to his brain and his heart.

Paramedics got on scene and used a defibrillator to send shocks to Wyatt's heart then rushed him into the ambulance and to St. Luke's.

"What this does, this defibrillation is hopefully reset the heart so that it starts beating in a uniform fashion again,"

But in the ambulance - thanks to the CPR and the shocks - his heart started beating again.

"I didn't think he was coming back out of that ambulance," Brandy added. "It's a miracle, it's just a miracle."

Wyatt was in the hospital for only nine days; for most of four of those days he was sedated, but every day he got progressively better. His family says he surprised everyone - including medical staff. He was released just this last Saturday.

While he was in the hospital, they found out Wyatt suffered a cardiac arrest - a rarity for someone so young.

"It is very unusual but it can happen to anyone. It's very unusual through all the ages, but it's extremely unusual for somebody this young," Blandos added.

The news hit his loved ones hard, but the endless support and prayers have been lifting the family up.

"I have a village," Brandy said. "We had prayer chains and prayer warriors all over the United States... And that is the only reason, that's the only reason he's here to talk about it."

"It helped a lot, helped that a lot of people actually cared about me and that I knew a lot of people cared about me," Wyatt added.

The Schmidts say there were always at least 10 people in the hospital supporting Wyatt at all times, and his mom wanted to make sure someone was always holding his hand.

Surgeons put a defibrillator in Wyatt's side to send a shock to his heart if it ever malfunctions again.

The lesson everyone impacted by this story wants you to know: Learn CPR. It saves lives.

"Had no one been willing to do chest compressions on him, his chances of survival would have been pretty much next to nothing," Blandos said.

"We are truly blessed. I mean, everything had to play out exactly the way it did that night. Everybody had a job and everybody did that job and it had to happen that way to save his life there had to be no mistakes," Brandy added. "We have a second chance. And it brought us all so much closer."

Wyatt is up and active and doctors say he will be able to lift weights in a month or so. But he won't be able to play football again because the contact sport could harm him and his defibrillator, which is something that has been really hard for him to come to terms with.

Brandy says she's extremely grateful for Marisa guiding her through CPR; if it wasn't for her, Brandy says she wouldn't have known what to do. And Marisa tells KTVB she feels fortunate to have made this life-saving impact.

"This is the first kid that I kind of got to see it through. There's a lot of calls that don't go quite as well. It makes you realize why you're doing it," Rayborn said. "I am so blessed that I got to be a part of that, that I got to know his family afterwards. They are incredible."

Throughout his journey to recovery, people are using the hashtag #WyattStrong on social media.


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