Coaches’ Quick Action Saves Student

May 5, 2011 by JOIE TYRRELL / joie.tyrrell@newsday.com
Comsewogue High School coaches Rick Miekley and Justin Seifert had to act fast. One minute, 17-year-old Hope Reindl, a member of the school’s softball team, was shooting hoops in an after-school intramural basketball game. The two coaches were supervising.
Moments later she was struggling to breathe after collapsing to the floor Wednesday afternoon in the school gym.
Miekley immediately came to her aid and Seifert had a student race to bring over a portable defibrillator. Together, they helped revive Hope and maybe even saved her life.
“I realized she was breathing, but labored,” Miekley said. Soon she stopped breathing so he started CPR. The two coaches then attached the defibrillator to Hope and waited for it to give her a jolt.
“We were able to get her shocked, and get her heart shocked within about a minute,” said Miekley, who also teaches health and physical education.
Meanwhile, Reindl’s mother, Candace, having been alerted by another student, arrived within minutes at the school to help, said Carl Reindl, Hope’s father.
Carl Reindl, of Port Jefferson Station, said his daughter was doing well Thursday night. She was speaking and eating, he said.
Apparently, doctors told the family Hope had suffered an arrhythmia though she had never had any symptoms of a problem. She is expected to have a defibrillator implanted Fridayand was listed in good condition Thursday night at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
“It’s something else, they are pretty miraculous,” Carl Reindl said of the two coaches. “They pretty much saved my daughter’s life, along with my wife.”
Both coaches are certified in CPR and defibrillator use and are recertified every year. Miekley also is a former athletic trainer for Stony Brook University and a former CPR instructor.
“They never hesitated,” said high school Principal Joseph Coniglione of the two coaches. “It is always about the kids for them and when they saw that, it was as if it was one of their own.”
Dennis Whittam, public information officer with the Terryville Fire Department, which is based out of Port Jefferson Station, confirmed that emergency medical technicians were on the scene at about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.
“The AED [defibrillator] the schools have was utilized to revive the student,” Whittam said. “When Terryville fire department EMTs got there on scene . . . they had shocked the patient with the AED and then Terryville took over CPR and did all the normal protocols that they follow and the patient was revived.”