16-year-old girl survives heart attack during basketball practice
ALLEN, Okla (KFOR) -- It was fate that brought 16-year-old Dakotah Bear to Allen, Oklahoma this season.
She's a 6'3" basketball prospect with potential and personality.
"She's one of those kids who always has a smile on her face," Coach Jeremy Strong said.
His tears stem from a recent day on the hardwood. Something nobody ever saw coming.
In the midst of drills, Dakota collapsed. What the coach thought was a seizure, was in fact, a fatal heart attack.
"We looked at each other in disbelief what is really going on here?" Mercy paramedic Chad Palmer told KFOR.
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Mercy medics raced to the Allen gym from Ada -- 20 minutes away -- while school staff used a defibrillator to try to revive the teen.
"We checked for a heart rate, checked her pulse and it said clear for shock. Three times," Coach Strong said.
Witnesses say she hadn't been breathing for more than 10 minutes.
But the Mercy ambulance was equipped with this unique device called LUCAS.
The machine does regular, non-stop chest compressions en route to the ER.
"It doesn't wear out or get tired like a human would," Palmer said.
Nobody ever gave up hope and it paid off.
"I died, I came back, I feel different," Dakotah Bear recalled.
After 2 weeks in the hospital, Dakotah is back to school.
Everyone agrees she is alive today because of training, technology and plenty of prayer.
"Words can't describe it. It is a miracle," a tearful Coach Strong said.
"It was God who saved her. I feel like God placed her in their hands all of the heroes here. It was a community effort," Dakotah's grandmother, Elaine added.
This holiday season, they all have plenty of reasons to give thanks.