Life-saving assist for soccer player

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on September 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 12:24 PM

Premier Park

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BALCH SPRINGS -- Last Wednesday, Ali Askari was dead for about 15-minutes.

"As I'm sitting here talking to you, I really shouldn't be," said Askari, soccer player.

Askari, 51, was playing with his adult soccer team in Balch Springs when his heart stopped.

"All of a sudden I felt dizzy," Askari recalled. "I felt my knee gave up. And I was just getting closer to the ground. But I didn't feel the hitting. I remember that I wanted to keep going but I couldn't."

Surveillance video from Premier Park in Balch Springs showed the fuzzy mob of team-mates gathering around his fallen body on the soccer field.

Two doctors on the team started CPR.

It was a player on the other team who offered a life-saving assist..

"And I yelled out to them," said Chris LeBlanc, who played for the Balch Springs team, "Hey do you need the defibrillator?

Surveillance video captures LeBlanc running to the complex building, retrieving the AED, and handing it off to one of Askari's teammates.

According to the American Heart Association, unless CPR and defibrillation are provided within minutes of collapse, few attempts at resuscitation are successful.

Unlike UIL sanctioned youth events, automated external defibrillators or AED's are not required for recreational or adult sports leagues.

The 'Over 40' aged players at Premier Park in Balch Springs insisted on having an AED handy.

"The majority of our players are older," says Larry Hall, president of Premier Park. "And they requested that we have a difib here just in case. It's one of those things where you hope you never need to use, but you hope you have it just in case you do."

"The first attempt I hear did not work," says Askari. "Nothing happened. Second attempt, I came back."

Two days later, Askari had a defibrillator implanted surgically.

While he may never be cleared to play soccer again, he's expected to recover fully.

He was given a signed game ball signed by members of both teams who witnessed his collapse.

Ali Askari believes the only reason he avoided an unexpected and ultimate red card is because there were two doctors and an AED at the game.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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