ALBERTSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Training and technology made the difference between life and death when a 12-year-old student suffered a heart attack.

Gopal Kumar remembers watching his 12-year-old son, Sanketh, come out of an ambulance attached to a ventilator at Winthrop University Hospital three weeks ago.

“It was one of the worst scenes I’ve seen in my life,” he told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

On September 14, one month before Sanketh’s 13th birthday, he was running a warm-up for gym class on his school’s track when he collapsed, going into cardiac arrest.

His heart stopped mid-stride at Herricks Middle School in Albertson.

Teachers called 911 and nurses rushed to his side, one performing CPR while others grabbed the school’s automated external defibrillator (AED).

His heart was shocked back to beating right on the track, but it took nearly 24 hours for him to regain consciousness.

Doctors told Sanketh’s parents the school’s staff saved their son’s life.

Gopal said he is particularly grateful for the nurse who performed CPR and revived his son with the AED.

“She is like in the form of an angle, a god for me and my family,” he said.

Friday is Sanketh’s birthday, and to celebrate his life and give thanks his family will sit down for dinner with the staff credited with saving him.

Gopal said heart problems run in the family, but Sanketh didn’t have a pre-existing heart condition. To ensure his safety moving forward, doctors implanted an automated defibrillator. If his heart should stop again, the device will jump start it.


Watch & Listen LIVE