Utah teen saved by friends, athletic trainer after cardiac arrest in weight room

Dec 12, 2023, 6:39 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2023, 9:07 pm

SMITHFIELD, Cache County — A Utah teen is recovering at Primary Children’s Hospital after going into cardiac arrest at Sky View High School on Monday.

“The emergency took place in the weight room at Sky View High School,” said Jenda Nye, director of communications for the Cache County School District, in a written statement. “Other students and staff were present at the time. A staff member attended to the student until emergency personnel arrived.”

The student, 16-year-old Dean Phillips, had just come out of a front squat and racked the bar when he began seizing, he then fell to the ground unconscious and stopped breathing, according to Lindsey Preece, a close family friend speaking on behalf of the Phillips family.

Preece said Phillips’ friends rushed to get the athletic trainer, who used an automated external defibrillator — often called an AED — to restart his heart. He was then transported to McKay-Dee Hospital and then taken by a medical helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital, where he was sedated and intubated in the ICU that night.

“This morning they tried to wake him and he tried to sit up and was uncooperative again, and would not open his eyes or squeeze their hand,” wrote Preece in a Facebook post Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, Preece said Phillips’ condition began to improve, and she said he came out of sedation and was talking to his parents and asking questions about what happened.

Preece has created a GoFundMe* to help the family with medical bills.

“If you can help in any way with medical expenses and life flight, his sweet family could surely use our help this holiday season. Dean’s 17th birthday is Christmas Eve,” she posted. “Hug your families tight… we now truly know the importance of this simple gesture.”

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah teen saved by friends, athletic trainer after cardiac arrest in weight room