Coach raises awareness for CPR training after it helped save his life

A seemingly healthy Georgetown assistant football coach collapsed on the practice field in September after his heart stopped. Bystander CPR intervention is credited with helping to save the married father’s life.

Coach Trey Henderson is a man of few words and was a little uneasy with the attention. Tuesday afternoon, he thanked each of the men and women who saved his life with the use of CPR and a defibrillator. At the time he was 39 years old when he suffered from cardiac arrest.

“When I was originally asked if I wanted to say something, I said no,” said Henderson.

Overcome with emotion, his 10-year-old son Claytor ran up to the podium to join him in front of the crowd of news cameras.

Five months ago, Henderson collapsed.

“He was without a pulse, lying lifeless on the football field,” said Dr. Ryan Garrett, assistant medical director for DC Fire and EMS.

Henderson’s parents Herman and Peggy were shocked when they got the phone call.

“Our oldest son. Never expected. Of the four, he’s probably the most active,” said Herman about his children.

Georgetown athletic trainers and coaches began CPR until first responders arrived.

“To be with my wife Summers and raise two wonderful boys,” Henderson began with tears in his eyes. “I’m grateful today because I’m able to play catch with him, play hide-and-go-seek with one of the best 6-year-old’s at hide-and-go-seek in the nation, be able to talk sports with my brothers and being able to tell my mom and dad that I love them.”

The assistant coach is fully recovered and back at work. He thanked the members of the Georgetown staff and EMS with a handshake, hug and challenge coin. His 6-year-old son Corbin understood the importance of the recognition.

“Because they save your life,” he said.

Henderson’s wife said after the scare, she learned CPR and is encouraging others to do the same.

“You really can save a life. You just never know when you might need that,” said Summers.

As a football coach, Henderson said he updates his CPR certification annually but never thought it would be used on him.

“We had to learn the song “Stayin’ Alive” to help us remember,” he said.

The American Heart Association teaches people to do chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees’ classic until help arrives.

Experts say mouth-to-mouth isn’t necessary for bystanders performing hands-only CPR.

In the United States, more than 325,000 people outside of hospitals suffer from cardiac arrest each year. Immediate CPR can double the chances for someone’s survival.

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