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Mr. Deimison's CPR Story

Nurse Saves Football Player

By Katherine Cook

KGW-TV (Seen 9/14/2010 on the Today Show)

CANBY, Ore. -- A nurse in the bleachers saved a Central Catholic junior who suffered a cardiac arrest during a football game last Friday night. Doctors said 17-year-old Hayward Demison has a defective, left coronary artery. It was a life-long ailment that had never been diagnosed. "I love the game (of football) with all my heart, it's been my favorite thing to do since I was little," said Demison, who plays tailback for the Rams. "I'm just happy that he's with us still," said Central Catholic's head football coach, Steve Pyne. "I'm just humbled by the whole thing."

It was the fourth quarter and Canby was ahead. Wearing his #21 jersy, Demison caught a pass and ran the ball into the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown and the win.

"It was very intense, people went crazy!" recalled Demison. "They were like, 'Oh, he's going, he's going, he's gone!'" Demison's heart was racing, but his pulse never returned to normal. In fact it, it got faster and faster.

"I was like, 'Coach, I can't breath,' and I asked him to get my inhaler," recalled Demison. "(Demison) had been diagnosed with athlete's asthma a couple years ago," said Pyne. "We thought maybe he was just having an episode." Demison's inhaler made his condition worse and he collapsed into the arms of assistant coach, Woody Green. Cardiac nurse, Lisa Lyver, was watching the events unfold from the stands.

"It sure didn't look like asthma to me," said Lyver, who made her way onto the field to help Demison.

"He wasn't breathing, he didn't have a pulse, his pupils weren't reacting to anything," noted Lyver. "At that point, I started doing chest compressions on him." Lyver estimated that Demison's heart had stopped for two minutes. She said what Demison really needed to revive him was a defibrillator, but since she could only perform CPR, Lyver prayed for a miracle. Moments later, she got one.

"You could actually feel his heart start beating right under my hands," Lyver said. "It's amazing to see somebody come back to life."

"I thank God for that," said Demison, "and I thank Lisa Lyver for saving me." Demison's father, Hayward Demison II, echoed his son's gratitude. "It's just really hard to see your son go through that," said Demison. "It was just unexplainable." Demison will miss the rest of the football season and will have heart surgery in the coming weeks. Doctors said if all goes well, Demison should be able to play football his senior year.

"I'm just going to keep my head up high and support my team no matter what," said Demison. "If it's God's will... next year, #21 will be back."