Kennewick athletic director a ‘hero’ for saving student’s life

KENNEWICK, Wash. — In 22 years of being an educator, Kennewick School District’s Dwane Sitler has accomplished a lot, and held titles such as coach and athletic director.

But now, the Athletic Director at Park Middle School can add saving a life to his resume.

“It’s something you hope you never have to do but thank God you’re there at the right place and right time for a student,” he said.

In April, Sitler encountered a life-saving and changing moment during school hours.

“It was just a typical day, he’s a kid that can run the mile, and he ran it and then he just collapsed at the end when he came across the finish line. He’s run it before, he’s a great runner,” Sitler said.

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A student, who’s identity hasn’t been released, collapsed after running the mile.

Sitler said at first, they thought the student who was known for his class clown antics, was just pretending.

“And he didn’t respond. To see him, be lifeless, is what really is, sets you up for kind of an awe and shock moment,” Sitler said in that moment, he jumped into action, as did others.

Suddenly, all hands were on deck to help the student, contact emergency services and keep other students at bay.

“PE department, SRO officer, security officer, the counsellors, the principal, I mean everything just kicked in, the nurse, the front office, everybody had communication going and did their part,” Sitler said it was also a traumatic event for other students as well.

It was thanks to the nearby AED device, Sitler was able to revive the student.

“We have one in the cafeteria, one here in the gym and then we also have one – since we got a new track put in – they put one in our field house for us. that’s the one. I was 30 feet away from it so I was just like, I’m going to get it, I’ll be right back; keep watching,” Sitler rushed into the nearby track house to get the AED.

Sitler said he’s thankful for the training Kennewick School District staff undergoes to respond to emergencies.

“I’m very grateful, it’s one of those things it takes you know, so many hours every two years to do it, and I’m happy to do it now and I’m glad I’ve always had it with me,” he said.

Studies said sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of students on school campuses and Sitler encourages everyone to get training, citing anyone could be put in a similar situation at any time.

“It’s good to see him around school, and see his smile, still a little shy; it was a traumatic experience for him and everyone around. Take the training, it’s worth it, whether it’s CPR first aid, AED, it’s worth it.”

To find a first aid or CPR course near you, check out Columbia Safety LLC for classes.