Coaches' quick thinking saves life of high school basketball player

It was a typical early-season basketball tryout last week at Monticello High School--until it wasn't.

With quick thinking and not a small amount of bravery, two coaches managed to save the life of one of their players last Tuesday, restarting his heart with the help of a defibrillator the type of which most people walk by on a daily basis. 

Just minutes into practice, 15-year-old Ryan Monahan fell over--not an uncommon event at such tryouts. This time, however, everyone seemed to realize it was different.

"You could just kinda tell," assistant basketball coach Bruce Balder-Lanoue said. "It wasn’t right, this was more than just a 'he didn’t eat breakfast' fainting type-thing. He was visibly struggling to breathe.”

Immediately Balder-Lanoue and his counterpart Jason Schmidt took charge, calling 911 and racing to find a nearby AED that could assess Ryan's heart and shock it back into rhythm.

The boy's parents, meanwhile, got the call that every parent dreads.

"It's the scariest thing that ever happened to us," John Monahan, Ryan's dad, said. "That’s the last thing you want to hear as a parent--that your kid is being loaded into an ambulance.”

With a concentrated jolt of electricity, Ryan soon bounced back to life--though without the quick thinking on the coaches' part, doctors tell the family Ryan would likely be dead.

“We looked at each other like, 'Holy cow, we’re doing this,'" Telecky said. "I pressed the button and immediately saw Ryan getting better. It's amazing what it did.”

Doctors aren't sure what exactly caused Ryan's heart issue, though he has been cleared to return to school. 

In the meantime, the entire Monahan family plans to get certified to use an AED.