Houston High School students teaching students, staff how to save lives through CPR/AED training

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:23 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in intensive care after suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

CPR was administered to Hamlin on the field.

The NFL’s chief medical officer says pre-game preparation by team and league medical staff is to be credited with the immediate on-field response.

Action News 5 wanted to know, are our schools ready in case of a cardiac emergency on the field or in the classroom?

At Houston High School in Germantown Municipal School District, a student-led team at the high school is making sure schools and staff in their district know how to save a life.

Senior Eden Johnson created the “Houston Hearts” club almost a year ago. She says she wanted to make sure her classmates were prepared to save a life.

" I feel like after they learn the proper use for CPR and AED, they just feel so much more enlightened and they feel better and more safe in their school environment,” said Houston High School Senior Eden Johnson.

Johnson is president of the Houston Hearts Club, a CPR and AED nationally certified group.

The club’s chapter is certified through Project ADAM, an organization created after a 17-year-old Wisconsin student athlete suffered sudden cardiac arrest, collapsed and died while playing basketball.

Houston’s chapter, ”Lawson’s Legacy” is named in memory of Lawson Wherry a graduate of Christian Brothers High School and student-athlete.

He died in 2019 after his heart suddenly stopped.

" I would say for schools it’s very important because the normal age for sudden cardiac arrest to occur to someone would be around the age of 15,” said Johnson. “And that can seem very shocking to people but that could be a classmate, that could be your friend and I really think that it would be important if something were to happen, you would be able to save your life and help them.”

Saving lives runs in the family for Eden, her father Dr. Jason Johnson is the Associate Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

“The most likely place this could occur is in the school systems, specifically during sporting events so it’s very important to have all the schools in the area to have appropriate CPR training, AED use and appropriate response team like Project Adam.”

He told Eden about Project ADAM after learning Collierville High School is also certified through the organization. He says he had no idea she’d take the project on herself.

“Every parent wants to see their child outshine them, I just had no idea it would happen her senior year of high school.”

Since starting Houston Hearts Club almost a year ago, Eden and other students have trained nearly every school within the Germantown Municipal School District she hopes to continue teaching others to save lives within the district and beyond.

“My whole goal out of all of this is to really spread the mission of Project ADAM and make sure people know what sudden cardiac arrest is and how important secure an AED use are,” said Johnson.

Houston High School is the first student-led team and second high school in West Tennessee to be a “heart-safe school” with multiple AEDs on campus.

Eden and her team of students plan to certify two more schools within GMSD in February, the district will be 100% certified by then.

The Houston Hearts club also recently went to Christian Brothers High School to train their staff.

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