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Park Middle School Teacher Uses AED Device to Save Student

Dwane Sitler hold an AED device in the gym at Park Middle School.

Dwane Sitler has held several titles in his 22 years at Park Middle School, including teacher, coach and athletic director.

Last month, he earned another: hero.

Sitler used an automated external defibrillator, or AED, to save a student experiencing a medical emergency. The student is now recovered and back in school.

"AED training is one of those things that you're glad you have, but you hope you never have to use," Sitler said. "It can be the difference between life and death or a traumatic event happening."

Sitler teaches P.E. and serves as Park's athletic director. He's gone through the district's CPR and first aid training multiple times. The training includes how to use an AED, which is a device that can check the heart's rhythm and deliver an electrical shock if needed.

All district facilities have at least one AED device on site for use during the school day and by community groups renting the spaces after hours.

Park has three devices in various places around the school, including one outside in the field shed.

The medical emergency at Park happened during a P.E. class. The student had just run a mile on the track and became unconscious and unresponsive.

"We tried waking the student up, we tried checking for a pulse and all that," Sitler said. "I said, 'I'm going to get the AED,'" which was about 30 feet away in the field shed.

The AED delivered a shock and the student immediately woke up. Paramedics arrived and the took the student to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Sitler credits the other teachers, administrators and the School Resource Officer who jumped into action to help and to activate the school's emergency response procedures. It was a team effort with an ultimately positive outcome, he said.

"Everyone was in the right place at the right time," Sitler said.