CHIPPEWA LAKE, Ohio (WJW) — A local teen said he’s alive thanks to a quick rescue from his baseball coach who jumped into action when he suffered a rare cardiac emergency in the middle of a baseball game.
The game started out perfectly for Kyle Hlucky, 17, a pitcher for the Akron A’s who got a rare chance to bat.
“Everyone’s real excited, because Kyle never bats, and he hit the ball. Everyone’s jumping around and cheering and he’s tearing around first base he’s heading into second,” remembered coach Scott Koenig of the Akron A’s Play Ball Sports Academy.
“My third base coach told me to stop and I said, ‘No I’m not gonna stop, I’m gonna keep going,'” Hlucky said. “Hands out, head-first, just slid. I remember getting on all fours, then just fell over.”
Hlucky, in good health, collapsed, struggling to breathe.
“I put my hand over his heart and I didn’t feel a heartbeat,” said Koenig. “It just clicked in and he’s having a cardiac situation at that point I started doing compressions.”
After several terrifying minutes of compressions, someone brought over an automated external defibrillator, or AED, successfully reviving Hlucky. Unknown to everyone at the time, the batteries were just replaced a few days earlier.
Hlucky’s collapse was the result of a sudden arrhythmic death. His mother said it was caused by his dive to third base.
“It was commotio cordis, which is the impact at the right interval of the heart cycle that will stop your heart,” said Natalie Hlucky, who was not present at the October baseball game.
The teen and his coach shared their story about the importance of having access to AEDs following the collapse of the NFL’s Damar Hamlin.
A few weeks after the cardiac arrest, his mother said an implantable monitor was installed to update Hlucky’s cardiologist on his heart health. He continues to express his thanks to the people who saved his life, including his coach who was by his side when he needed it most.
“Without him being there and seeing me fall, collapse, doing what he did — I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Hlucky.
Now he’s fielding opportunities to play baseball in college.
“It brings a lot of joy to my heart because I’ve got that impression of him laying there just thinking to myself, ‘We’re not going to lose him.’ And we didn’t lose him,” said Koenig.
A win bigger than any game.