WASECA, Minn. (FOX 9) - A Waseca football coach, whose life was saved last weekend after going into cardiac arrest during a game thanks in part to help from bystanders, is now back home after a hospital stay.
Coach Brad Wendland collapsed on the sidelines during the Blue Jays' game last Friday late in the 4th quarter. After he went down, people ran to help, starting with the team's trainer who started CPR and quickly followed by a nurse in the stands and the trainer from St. Peter's with the AED.
After he went down, people ran to help, starting with the team's trainer who started CPR and quickly followed by a nurse in the stands and then the trainer from St. Peter's with the AED.
"It's a lot to take to know that you scared that many people who are important in my life," said Wendland.
Wednesday, many of those same people are giving Brad Wendland the warm homecoming he deserves, as he's forced to slow down and let a new medical device implanted in his chest heal.
"They put what’s called an ICD in my chest, which is like having an AED in my chest at all times," said Wendland.
As he writes "thank you" notes to the many people who stepped up in the last several days, he says the biggest thank you’s are owed to the three people who were able to restart his heart.
"I know they’ll say that they were just doing their job but their leadership and take charge ability and decisiveness made the difference," he said. "It’s the reason I’m here."
While he says he’s going to take a short break from coaching, he knows he won’t be able to stay away long. "I’m going to tell the kids, don’t treat me any different, don’t take it easy on coach. I’m the same guy, I just have more hardware in my chest here."
As he plans to be here for years to come.
"When I'm ready," he says, "when I feel up to it, I want to show back the love that they’ve shown to me."
Wendland hopes his close call will be a lesson to others about the importance of CPR training and readily available AEDs.