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Coaches, firefighters save Puyallup student who collapsed during track practice

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PUYALLUP, Wash. — A Puyallup eighth-grader collapsed during track practice, but there was a happy ending thanks to the quick actions by coaches, firefighters and a simple device they say every school should have.

For Garrett Arther, Wednesday was only the second day back to school since he collapsed on the school’s running track. He suffered a cardiac arrest.

“Everybody is excited to have you back,” Glacier View Junior High School Principal Mario Casello said. “All of your teachers, the staff, kids, everybody has been thinking about you.”

In mid-April, Garrett collapsed while running. He doesn't remember much about that day, but his coach does.

"The whole event was sheer chaos," said coach Chris Susee.

"Garrett was doing a warm-up jog and just collapsed on the track," Casello said.

Staff members immediately rushed to his aid, calling 911, beginning CPR and using the school's portable defibrillator.

"We gave him one shock and at that point continuing first aid until the fire department showed up," Casello added.

Cassello said Garrett survived thanks to emergency responders and the school staff's rigorous training with the defibrillator.

"Up to about four years ago in the Puyallup School District, nobody had an AED (automated external defibrillator) in our buildings," he said.

It's a tool everyone at Glacier View is thankful to have, especially Garrett.

"If they weren't there, then I might not be alive," he said.

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