Mir­a­cle at the fin­ish line

Run­ner who col­lapsed after com­plet­ing half marathon is re­cov­er­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

KEN­NETT SQUARE >> At 60 years old, Shawn Stevens was near­ing the fin­ish line of the Ken­nett Square Mush­room Cap Half Marathon on Satur­day, and he was about to do it in un­der two hours. The 13-1-mile race in­cluded sev­eral gru­el­ing up­hill chal­lenges that tested even sea­soned run­ners.

But as he crossed over the fin­ish line, Stevens col­lapsed, go­ing into car­diac ar­rest. Dr. Ricky Haug, the vol­un­teer lead on-site physi­cian, was im­me­di­ately at the scene. He was joined by another physi­cian Re­becca Arm­bruster, who was help­ful check­ing pulses. Dr. Andy Kolb also be­gan giv­ing Stevens CPR.

When Haug took over, Stevens was ly­ing on the ground, mo­tion­less. Haug said he wasn’t breath­ing and had no pulse.

“I did CPR, and I put him on a

de­fib­ril­la­tor to shock him, to hope­fully get a pulse back,” Haug said. “It was lucky CPR was started early, be­cause the chest com­pres­sions pushed the blood through (the body), to ba­si­cally start his heart. I needed to get the blood flow­ing so he didn’t lose oxy­gen and be­come brain dead.”

Clin­i­cally, Stevens was dead on the ground of the Ken­nett foot­ball field. Scores of peo­ple gath­ered around Stevens and formed a cir­cle, some pray­ing out loud. But Haug con­tin­ued with ag­gres­sive CPR, and then us­ing the au­to­mated ex­ter­nal de­fib­ril­la­tor in an at­tempt to bring him back to life.

“The de­fib­ril­la­tor gives elec­tric­ity to the heart, and shocked it,” Haug said. “But his pulse was still not re­spond­ing on his own.”

So Haug and oth­ers con­tin­ued ag­gres­sive CPR. Within min­utes, Stevens was breath­ing, but very shal­low. After the shot from the de­fib­ril­la­tor, and his heart was back by the time Ken­nett EMTs ar­rived.

“My adren­a­line was re­ally pump­ing,” Haug said. “it was scary for all of us. Af­ter­ward, you re­ally think about how scary it re­ally was.”

Stevens was taken to Ch­ester County Hos­pi­tal. An am­bu­lance was not sta­tioned at the sta­dium be­cause race of­fi­cials de­cided it was eas­ier for the am­bu­lance to be sta­tioned in the bor­ough rather than nav­i­gat­ing out of the sta­dium.

“The fore­sight of Ken­nett EMS to pro­vide Dr. Haug with the AED be­fore race start was crit­i­cal,” said Dave Berger, co-race di­rec­tor. “It was hard to wit­ness what hap­pened with Shawn. I feel the out­come could not be any bet­ter though. Whether that am­bu­lance was parked at the fin­ish line or out­side the sta­dium, Shawn Stevens is alive.”

Stevens, an avid run­ner, has made a com­plete re­cov­ery thanks to the quick re­sponse of med­i­cal per­son­nel. In a let­ter to Berger, he said he is even look­ing for­ward to run­ning next year’s half-marathon.

“I feel lucky to be here at that point in time when there was so much pro­fes­sional help to re­vive me,” Stevens said. “The med­i­cal staff has in­formed me of a con­di­tion of which I was not aware and should soon have surgery to re­pair the con­di­tion.”

Stevens said he wishes he could have par­tic­i­pated in the post-run cer­e­monies at the Ken­nett foot­ball sta­dium. His daugh­ter helped to re­trieve his be­long­ings and to pick up his car at the Ken­nett YMCA pool park­ing lot.

Stevens said he is look­ing for­ward to run­ning again.

“Or­ga­niz­ers and EMT work­ers did a great job pre­par­ing for the worst,” Haug said. “The am­bu­lances were sta­tioned strate­gi­cally to be avail­able if some­thing hap­pened along the course. There was an am­bu­lance at the Ken­nett Fire Com­pany for the bor­ough, and an am­bu­lance at Mill Road and West Lo­cust Street.”

The tem­per­a­ture at the start of the race was cool, but quickly warmed up. Many run­ners dropped shirts and sweaters along the road. These have been col­lected and will be do­nated to char­ity.

About 750 run­ners paid an av­er­age of $80 to par­tic­i­pate in the first an­nual half-marathon, which ben­e­fits the Garage Com­mu­nity Youth Cen­ter in Ken­nett Square and Fam­ily Prom­ise of south­ern Ch­ester County.

FRAN MAYE — DIGITAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spec­ta­tors take turns giv­ing CPR to Shawn Stevens, who went into car­diac ar­rest im­me­di­ately after cross­ing the fin­ish line at the Ken­nett Square Mush­room Cap Half Marathon Satur­day morn­ing.

FRAN MAYE — DIGITAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mark Ab­bott holds the Amer­i­can flag high dur­ing the run­ning of the Ken­nett Square Mush­room Cap Half Marathon Satur­day. Ab­bott car­ried the flag for the en­tire 13.1-mile race.

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