On February 26, 2018, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop was named Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. His talents ran in the family with his younger brother, Kai, following in his footsteps. Kai was on the fast track to basketball stardom till he was struck by a “cardiac event” while practicing with his teammates on February 9th, 2017.
No one would have ever expected Kai, a healthy 15 year old athlete, to drop and go into cardiac arrest during one of his everyday activities. Moments before collapsing on the court he said, “My heart feels weird.” Suddenly, he had no pulse and was not breathing. Seconds after he collapsed, an athletic trainer intern, Maddie Biehl, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Kai to keep oxygen-rich blood pumping to his brain. Emily Martz, another intern, ran to retrieve an Automatic External Defibrillator in the trainer’s office. While one was doing chest compressions, the other one was prepping the AED. The CPR and AED, used together by the heroic athletic trainers, are what saved Kai’s life!
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is always fatal unless rescuers or bystanders can respond within seconds with CPR and an AED. According to the American Heart Association, only 10% of SCA victims will survive outside of a hospital setting. Chances of survival drops by 7-10% with every passing minute someone goes without oxygen, CPR, and a defibrillator to shock their heart back into rhythm. After 10 minutes, the chance of survival in adults is less than 5%. In the United States, 1 school-aged child dies every 3-4 days from a heart condition. Luckily, Kai was not part of that statistic.
Upon arriving to the hospital, Kai’s mother, Wilma, learned that her son had had no pulse and that an AED was used to revive him. Kai’s father, Richard, recounts the event saying, “I wasn’t even sure what an AED was at the time. Now I know exactly what they do and I also know exactly why it was important to have both CPR and AED, because otherwise, Kai was not going to make it. If it weren’t for the trainers applying CPR and using the AED, he wouldn’t be here today.”
After running some tests, doctors found that Kai had a condition called Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His father warned that, “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is not apparent that you might have it. That’s what is so surprising is that you just don’t know sometimes. There wasn’t any kind of warning… or anything like that.” Most parents do not know that their child has an underlying heart condition like HCM.
Wilma wants to stress the importance of CPR and the deployment of an AED because one without the other could mean that her child is not here today. “The CPR was what kept his heart going while the AED was used to shock it [Kai’s heart] back into the right rhythm. And one without the other, you do not get the full desired outcome.” She is amazed with the health of her son. She says that, “we were extremely fortunate that Kai didn’t have any lasting damage. There was no scaring. There was no other organ damage. No cognitive damage.”
Kai, Keita, and his family have been on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds to put more AED’s in communities that do not have them. Most people do not know what AEDs are and their life-saving potential. Wilma mentions that “While Kai was in the hospital, I was having a conversation with his physician, and they shared with me that Kai’s outcome was the best possible. But there are some schools out there that don’t have AEDs.” She also said, “I think for us, it’s made it very clear that schools have to be prepared for something that you just wouldn’t imagine happening to a teenager.” Kai Bates-Diop’s family want to bring awareness to Cardiac Arrest and AED’s with their PSA for the Illinois Heart & Lung Foundation.
Since Kai’s cardiac event, the Bates-Diop family has raised over $15,000 to help put an AED in every school. Kai’s mother goes on to say, “AEDs save lives. We’ve just learned that you cannot over-prepare for that. You need to have all the resources available at your disposal very quickly to help save a life.”
For more information about AEDs go to our website AED.US.com to learn more.
Visit the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation at http://ihlf.org to learn more.
Donations can be mailed to: AEDs, c/o University High School, 500 W. Gregory, Campus Box 7100, Normal, IL 61790-7100
- IHLF. “Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation”. 30 March 2018.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”
Last updated March 30, 2018