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Soccer coach saves player’s life

Team decides to learn CPR to honor teammate

A Cedar Springs soccer team took a course in CPR last week after almost losing one of their teammates to a heart attack during a warm up session last fall.

In October 2021, the Cedar Springs Area Select Association (CASSA) ’07 boys team met at the Algoma Sports Plex, 10401 Algoma Ave, for a regular practice. But it was anything but normal.

The team, made up of 13 and 14-year-old boys, began running a warmup lap. Jeffrey Soules, 14, the son of Matt and Kristi Soules of Courtland Township, was running with his team when he started to slow down. The team runs the lap together and doesn’t leave anyone behind. The goalie dropped back to wait for Jeff but Jeff wasn’t able to keep up, and soon collapsed. The team quickly went into action, calling 911 and running to get the coach.  

Coach Adam Petty performed CPR on Jeff for several minutes, saving his life and drastically improving the overall outcome.  An on-call fire fighter arrived on the scene and administered an AED.  Additional emergency services arrived on scene moments later.

Jeff was taken via ambulance to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital where he received emergency care and treatment.  According to Jeff’s mom, Kristi, Jeff has a rare genetic heart disease, closest to a cardiomyopathy. He had a dual defibrillator / pacemaker implanted into his chest and has since miraculously been cleared to return to the soccer field and play with his teammates who ultimately saved his life.

“We are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful soccer family,” said Kristi. “We are humbled to have had the team do all they could that day to save Jeff’s life.”

The team has been supportive of Jeff and his family and of each other as they have endured this reality.  The teammates began to ask the coaches what they could do and wanted to learn CPR so that they could potentially save a life in the future.

So, on Wednesday, January 12, Jeff and his teammates took a three-hour CPR course to get their certification, compliments of Life EMS Ambulance. Jeff already had his certification through a swim class, but wanted to be there with his team.

The Post asked Coach Adam Petty how he felt about being able to help save Jeff. He told us that until the Life EMS training last week, he had no formal CPR training, other than during Boy Scouts, 45 years ago. “I was at the right place at the right time to help Jeff. I am very happy that I played a part in helping save him,” he said. 

Coach Petty was pleased the team wanted to learn CPR. “The boys did not like the feeling of being helpless. The CPR training was 100 percent their idea,” he explained. “I am very proud that their response to this situation was ‘How can I be prepared to help if this every happens again?’ We are a good soccer team made up of great young men.”

How do his parents feel about Jeff returning to soccer? “Jeff is young and his passion to play soccer alongside of being cleared for sports allows him to be back on the field with his teammates doing what he loves. #FaithoverFear,” said Kristi.

“It’s hard to talk about all of the feels!” she added. “(I’m) mostly relieved it’s over. It was scary and hard for the team to watch such an event occur. I’m just glad that the teammates want to learn more and be helpful if ever in a situation such as this again.”

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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