SPANISH FORK — Seven-year-old Logan Powell sounds like any other first grader who loves school. He will quickly rattle off his favorite subjects: “Library, P.E., Art. But to his parents, it is not the Logan they used to know.
“Logan is a different child,” said his mother Laura Powell. “He’s not the same he was before.”
Logan collapsed on the playground at East Meadows Elementary on October 13. School staff immediately started CPR.
“The quick response from the police officers and the CPR at the school made all the difference in the world” Powell said.
While waiting for the ambulance, Lt. Brandon Anderson with the Spanish Fork Police department arrived with an automated external defibrillator. With it, they shocked Logan’s heart back into a normal rhythm.
“It was the AED machine which saved his life,” Powell said.
While open heart surgery repaired his previously undiagnosed heart defect, it was later discovered that Logan suffered a traumatic brain injury because of a lack of oxygen in those minutes before the officer arrived with the AED.
“If (the AED) had been in the school at that time, we’d of had those few more minutes and then maybe we wouldn’t be facing ADHD right now and Sensory Integration Disorder,” Powell said.
The Nebo School board approved buying AEDs for all of the schools in the district in August, six weeks before Logan suffered his near fatal heart episode. The units were still in the process of being purchased and there was not one in the school at the time.
Logan’s incident left no doubt in the minds of district officials that they made the right decision about purchasing the AEDs.
Now, the life saving devices will be available for students with known heart abnormalities, along with those students like Logan whose heart problems are unknown, said Dave Gneiting, the risk manager with the Nebo School District.
“You don’t know anything about those students until something happens,” Gneiting said. “I think it’s a very comforting thing for parents to know that we have them, I think it’s great for our staff to know that they not only have the tool of CPR, but the tool of a defibrillator there to help.”
Several staff members at every school have been trained on the defibrillators. Secondary schools are equipped with more than one.
“We’re hoping we don’t have to use them, but we’re assured that they are in the schools and they can be used if needed,” said District Spokeswoman Lana Hiskey.
Logan is back to attending school for about three hours a day. His mom says it is still difficult for him, but she remains optimistic that with time, Logan will improve.
“We miss a lot of school for doctor appointments and therapy,” Powell said. “Going to school for Logan is like running a marathon, it’s very exhausting for him mentally.”
While some schools in Utah have an AED, many still do not. Logan’s parents hope other districts will follow Nebo’s lead, pointing out an AED will not only benefit students, but teachers, along with parents or grandparents who attend school events.
“Every minute is so critical, so having that in the schools for somebody else and having the staff trained to use them is just wonderful,” Powell said. “I’m really, really excited about it.”