Bystanders spring to action after Waseca coach goes into cardiac arrest at game

The Waseca varsity football team is celebrating not one but two victories Monday. Not only did the team defeat their opponent on Friday night, but they undoubtedly witnessed a miracle.

The Waseca Blue Jays are back on the field for the first time since Friday, when at their opening football game their head coach went into cardiac arrest on the sidelines. Luckily, he was saved by some fast-acting heroes.

Ahead by eight points with only 31 seconds left in the game, it wasn’t the varsity football team that needed a miracle Friday night. It was their head coach Brad Wendland, who had collapsed on the sidelines.

"All of a sudden I felt really lightheaded, and I had this kind of rush go to my head for about 5-10 seconds and then I decided, OK, this doesn’t feel good. I’m going to take a knee and let this pass… and that’s the last thing I remember," coach Wendland said. "Apparently I was out, unconscious…for almost five minutes, and I don’t recall any of that."

Within seconds, the team’s trainer started CPR, and a nurse ran down from the stands. And from across the field, St. Peter’s trainer ran over the AED.

It was a team effort that brought the 48-year-old back to life.

"You’re prepared for it. You’re ready for it. You just don’t know when you’re going to go into action. We’re so thankful we had a plan, and we had the athletic trainers from both teams," said Joe Hedervare, Athletics Director for Waseca High School.

"There’s just no doubt that those people who were there to work on me, I wouldn’t be here without them," Wendland said.

His players then brought home a win as the ambulance pulled away.

"Our kids said, no, let’s finish out the game. It’s what coach would have wanted," Hedervare said.

"As terrible a break it is to be here in a hospital bed, cardiac arrest at 48, I can’t help but feel blessed by all those that I’ve heard from and all those I can’t wait to see when I get home," Wendland said.

Coach Wendland is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.