The Edinburgh teen had just seconds to think of how to use his training.
Sean Bacha was walking into the dugout during the second game at a softball tournament when he heard another player comment to the coach that he was feeling dizzy.
A few second later the teen collapsed. The actions Bacha and another boy took are being called life-saving.
But Bacha, an Edinburgh Community High School senior, said he was just doing what he had learned at lifeguard training over two summers at the Edinburgh pool and was doing what anyone with his training would do, he said.
“He was breathing, we knew it wasn’t effective, we knew we had to do something then and there or else he wouldn’t make it,” he said.
Bacha was attending the American Legion Hoosier Boys State government simulation program in Angola with hundreds of other teens from across the state. On the third day of the program, the teens were in a softball tournament.
On his way back to the dugout, he heard a teammate complain of dizziness. Seconds later, the other teen fell to his knees.
Bacha rushed over and caught the other boy, easing him to the ground. Another delegate rushed over who was an EMT. Together, he and Bacha checked all of the boy’s vital signs.
Bacha searched for a pulse in the teen’s wrist, neck and leg. He never found one.
He lowered his head to the boy’s chest and could determine that his heart was beating. But he was having trouble breathing, and his lips were turning blue.
“You could tell he was getting air in, but not air out,” he said. “We were both trying to see if he was breathing, I couldn’t find a pulse anywhere.”
The two decided that the boy needed CPR, but didn’t have a mask. Bacha rushed back to his dormitory where he kept a CPR mask. By the time he returned, an ambulance had arrived.
The teen who collapsed was diagnosed with athletic heart syndrome, according to a news release from Hoosier Boys State. The organization is crediting Bacha and the other delegate, Josh Walston of Versailles, and two staff members, with saving the boy’s life. They received recognition at the closing ceremony of the state program.
Bacha said his training as a lifeguard gave him the skills he needed to act in an emergency situation, he said. In his two summers as a lifeguard, first aid was typically giving out bandages or helping people suffering from heat stroke, he said.
This situation was a bit more dire, but his training prepared him for it, he said. He remembered training from the American Heart Association that implored him to “look, listen and feel” for breathing.
“I was used to dealing with stuff like that,” he said.
As he walked back to his dorm that night, he replayed what happened and reassured himself that the teen was likely going to be OK, he said. A counselor checked on him and he called his mother to talk about the incident.
“I am so proud of him, he is always right there willing to help,” his mother Kami Ervin said.