Imperial High coaches help save life of student with rare heart condition

Posted at 5:05 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 20:36:28-05

IMPERIAL, Calif. (KGTV) -- An Imperial High School freshman is recovering at Rady Children's Hospital after nearly losing his life during gym class.

Juan Zaragoza was running around the track when he collapsed. His two coaches, Richard Diaz and Wolfgang Horner, first thought he was having a stroke.

When they realized he had no pulse, they started giving him CPR. It was the first time either coach had to use their first-aid training.

"It could've happened to any kid," said Diaz. "Luckily it happened in our class because we're certified, a lot of teachers are not."

The two coaches were able to keep Zaragoza alive until paramedics arrived.

Zaragoza was airlifted to Rady Children's, where cardiologists began monitoring him and determined he suffers from a rare heart condition.

After a successful surgery, 10News was there as Zaragoza's coaches surprised him.

The Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation provides free heart screenings for teenagers to try and prevent these medical emergencies from occurring because many people do not survive them.

Their next screening is January 28 at Del Norte High School, you can register here.