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49 year old Dale Wakasugi loves the challenge of refereeing high school basketball games; getting calls right, by making decisions in a split second.
Last Thursday at Fridley High School, it was a spectator who made one of those quick decisions, and Wakasugi is alive because of it.
16-year-old Lindsey Paradise and her mom were watching the contest between Fridley and Simley when they noticed one of the officials stumble and fall to the court.
It was Wakasugi, who had suffered a serious heart attack.
Paradise jumped to her feet and ran onto the court, armed with recent CPR and Automated External Defibrillator training she had recieved in health class.
“It’s crazy,” laughed Lindsey’s twin sister Alyssa, who looked on as a Fridley cheerleader.
“At first when I saw her run down there, I’m like, get out of there, but then I realized, oh, she knows what she’s doin, she can do it.”
Lindsey’s health teacher, Jim MacDonald, agreed. “She just has, we call em ‘star qualities,” he said. “She just went out there, looked at the situation, and just put the situation in front of her.”
Paradise was soon joined by two nurses who were in the crowd, and another adult samaritan. They administered CPR, but after three rounds, Lindsey still found no pulse. Lindsay then sent someone to get one of the school’s A-E-D machines, followed the recorded voice instructions, and then pressed the button. “I’m like, I know what happened in class, I wonder what’s gonna happen now,” she recalled, “so I pushed it, it shocked him, I’m like oh my gosh, it’s amazing, it actually worked.”
Wakasugi’s heart started to beat on it’s own. He was rushed to the hospital, where a stent was implanted in his heart. He was discharged this afternoon, just four days after the attack. Dale is anxious to resume refereeing, and ‘more’ anxious to meet the 16-year-old who saved his life. “God sent her to be at that place, at that time, for a reason,” he reasoned. “So many things had to happen for me to be alive, and they all fell into place.”