New York Teacher – February 27, 2007 –
Shane Lese has spent years acting on the “let’s get physical” buzz. It’s his job, as a phys ed teacher and wrestling coach at Horseheads High.
In December, his physical response was tested when he used an Automated External Defibrillator to help save a man who was having a heart attack at a wrestling match.
Lese, a member of the Horseheads Teachers Association in the Southern Tier, was coaching a match at Newark Valley High.
“I’d gone into the cafeteria to get a quick bite to eat and was coming back,” said Lese. “I was just on my way back to the gym and I noticed a commotion.”
That’s when he was told a man in the bleachers was having a heart attack. He and a group of helpers put the man, John Lupo, flat on his back in the bleachers.
“We all kind of helped in the process of getting him to lie down,” said Lese. “Then he became unresponsive.”
Donna Hyde, a registered nurse and mother of a wrestler, and Lese both said, “We need to get a hold of an AED,” Lese recalled.
Hyde and Walter Farrell, father of a wrestler, took Lupo’s pulse.
“We determined he didn’t have a pulse. He was not breathing,” said Lese.
He said it only took about a minute for wrestling coach Eric Darcy, a member of Newark Valley United Teachers, to locate and hand them a defibrillator. The life-saving devices are now required in every school because of a NYSUT-backed state law that took effect in 2002.
Hyde started chest compressions and Farrell was doing rescue breaths, said Lese, who is a certified CPR instructor.
With the commotion in the gymnasium as people were cleared out, Lese said, it was hard to hear the AED prompts.
“It was a scary moment to see a man who, when you looked at him, was gasping for air. His body was shutting down,” Lese said.
“You didn’t know what he was feeling other than that something was desperately wrong.”
He gave Lupo one shock with the AED and was relieved to see him become “somewhat responsive.”
“Right as the EMTs arrived, he was just starting to come to,” Lese said. “His heart hadn’t completely stopped.”
AEDs, he said, deliver a shock to get the heart into a more natural rhythm. “To not have these at different facilities is kind of crazy,” Lese said. “Seeing CPR administered to what was a lifeless body … it’s scary … you’re just thinking, ‘What do we have to do?’ You do what you’re trained to do.”
Lese said he is not a hero.
“A hero risks their life,” he said. “I was just in the right spot at the right time.”
At Horseheads High, all high school students are taught adult CPR.
NYSUT.org. Copyright New York State United Teachers. 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, New York, 12110-2455. 518.213.6000. http://www.nysut.org.