Just before the second bell rang at Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tennessee, Linton Beck, 16, was sitting at his desk, talking to a fellow student.
Students filled the room waiting for chemistry class to start.
Then Linton’s eyes rolled back. He slumped over.
His classmate sprang into action and alerted the teacher, which set off a series of lifesaving events.
Linton was having a sudden cardiac arrest.
Station Camp High School is among 326 schools to achieve the Heart Safe School designation through Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory).
Project ADAM is a national organization committed to making schools “heart safe” by preventing sudden cardiac death in schools and communities through education and lifesaving programs.
“The presence of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in schools and throughout the community, combined with people who are prepared to respond, is key to saving lives,” said English Flack, MD, assistant professor of Pediatric Cardiology and medical director of Project ADAM Middle Tennessee. “Sumner County has been a shining example of emergency preparedness, and Linton’s school has consistently engaged with us to perform their annual AED drills in compliance with Tennessee legislation.”
Monroe Carell’s Project ADAM, now in its sixth year, is one of 34 affiliate organizations across 26 states.
“Our goal is for every school in Middle Tennessee to have a practiced sudden cardiac arrest emergency response plan in order to act in the very manner that Linton’s school did,” Flack said.
Station Camp High School has five AEDs on school grounds.
Sumner County Schools was one of the first school districts in the Midstate to achieve the Heart Safe School designation in 2018.
Linton and his family are grateful that the school was prepared.
“I don’t remember anything from the event,” said Linton, a cross-country runner who had no previous health issues. “I remember walking to class, and then I remember waking up in the hospital.
“I’m just happy I was in the right place at the right time; I was around people who knew what to do. There was a plan in place.
“In the past, I noticed there’s a box on the wall with an AED, but now that I’ve gone through this, that sign is a bigger deal.
“I will be more alert to where AEDs are located when I am out. It will be on my radar to get training to help others.”
An estimated 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States, and about 7,000 of those are in people younger than 18, according to the American Heart Association.
“Because of the quick response of the school staff, Linton is alive and will be able to continue being a member of the cross-country team,” said Stephen Beck, Linton’s dad. “My son is here today because of the school’s response.”