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Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

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Graduate student saves girl's life to become national hero

Brent Reese advocates automatic external defibrillator awareness


An Ohio University student recently received national attention after he helped save the life of a 12-year-old girl in a Texas middle school.

Ohio University graduate student Brent Reese has become a celebrity at Maus Middle School in Frisco, Texas, where he coaches football and teaches gym class.

On Sept. 26, he helped resuscitate 12-year-old student Kylee Shea after she collapsed in the hallway due to a heart arrhythmia. Reese and fellow gym teacher Kristen Goodgion performed CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on Shea, keeping her alive until help arrived.

The story has been featured in local media and also received coverage from both national and international news outlets such as "Fox and Friends", the Huffington Post and the UK Daily Mail. On Monday, both teachers accompanied Shea and her family to New York City to appear on NBC's "The Today Show."

Despite the fame he has received from the media, Reese is staying humble and using this experience to spread a message about the use of AED machines.

"Honestly it has been a whirlwind," said Reese about the media. "I know this celebrity won't last long, but while it is in the forefront of everyone's minds, I want to see lives changed by these machines."

According to Texas law, all public schools are required to have at least one defibrillator on campus. In addition, coaches are required to be certified in CPR and AED use through the American Heart Association every two years. Reese credits this training with being effectively able to use the machine.

"If I hadn't had that training, I would've had nothing to fall back on," said Reese. "But even without training, anyone can use an AED, they would just be a little slower and panicky." 

Shea's family and Reese are pushing to see defibrillators required in all schools and public places throughout the country.

"There is a fire extinguisher in every building," said Reese. "I want to see a fire extinguisher and an AED machine in the same place."

On Tuesday, there was an assembly at Maus Middle School celebrating Shea's first day back and the heroes that kept her alive.

"I'm no Superman," said Reese. "But because of the AED training, an average Joe was able to save a life."

Reese is a student in the Professional Masters of Sports Administration program at Ohio University. As a professional student, he takes online classes, attends three-day residencies on campus and attends various workshops throughout the year while working in the field of athletics administration.

To watch the Today Show interview, click here

Brent Reese's tips to proper automatic external defibrillator use:

1.    Everyone should know where AEDs are located.
2.    Identify people who have been trained to use the machine.
3.    Make sure that everyone is trained for proper use.