Middle school volleyball team hailed as guardian angels for saving teammate

NEW WASHINGTON, Ohio - One mother is calling her daughter's volleyball team and coach guardian angels after they helped save her child's life.

"The coach and everyone saw her hit the ground. The coach came over, they checked her, she had no pulse and instantly started CPR," Robin Roberts said.

Beth Roberts, 13, collapsed Tuesday during practice at Buckeye Central Local Schools in New Washington. Roberts says the coach began CPR while students rushed to grab a nearby AED.

The teen was later airlifted to a Columbus hospital, where doctors said she has a rare heart condition that will require open-heart surgery to treat, according to her mother. The news came as a shock to Roberts who said her daughter always passed physical exams when she competitively swam and played softball.

"She had a headache the night before and I thought about going to call her off school. And she came over and told me, 'Mom I'm going to go ahead to school,'" said Roberts, grateful her daughter did not stay home alone.

The news hitting the tight-knit Buckeye Central Local School District of less than 700 students especially hard.

"Everything we do revolves around the students so when you have a student go down, it's a very devastating feeling," said Mark Robinson, the superintendent. "There's a lot of things that have to happen correctly and properly, and they did because they pulled together as a team and saved her life."

Robinson said the district is now analyzing how they can be even better prepared for emergencies like this one, and are reevaluating staff training on CPR and AED comprehension.

"They saved our little girl," Roberts said. "If they wouldn't have done it, she would not have been here... All I could think of was she had guardian angels watching over her that day, and I felt her guardian angels wore red and grey."

While the road to recovery will be long, Roberts said she is leaning on their faith to help during this emotionally draining time. For now, they are looking forward to celebrating their daughter who turns 14 in a few weeks.