Teacher trained in CPR saves life at Glen Ellyn ice rink
It was nearing 10 p.m., and Matt Bosman was debating whether to go his team's late hockey game at Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
He was tired, but the North Aurora man got himself up, put on his gear and decided to play.
It's a decision that saved his life.
Bosman's son, Caleb, was playing goalie that night. He didn't see his dad collapse, but when he saw the 56-year-old lying on the ice seconds later he knew the situation was grim.
"He's had two heart attacks in the past. I figured it was something like that," Caleb said. "He was kind of unresponsive, struggling to breathe and just looked out of it."
Brian Miller was playing against the Bosmans' team. Very quickly, it stopped mattering who won.
Miller, a physical education teacher at Indian Knoll Elementary School in West Chicago, had received training on CPR and how to use an AED machine, or automatic external defibrillator, at his workplace. He jumped into action alongside a man who was observing the game.
"I don't know if I would have stepped in without the training," Miller said. "The first thing I thought was I need to help because I know CPR."
As the players waited for an ambulance, Miller performed CPR. Someone ran to get the AED machine and Miller took the lead, hooking it up and telling everyone to step back and let go of Matt's hand before he started the shock.
At one point, Matt stopped breathing.
"His eyes glazed over," Caleb said. "I thought he had died."
Seconds later, Matt gasped for air and started breathing again and the paramedics arrived shortly after.
"I was relieved there was someone there who knew what they were doing," Caleb said. "It was the perfect circumstance that there was an AED machine 50 feet away from him and someone knew how use it."
Center Ice Manager Davin Fennewald said he has seen injuries that require medical attention at the rink in the past, but mostly they are broken bones.
"It was interesting," he said of the way the situation was handled. "It felt totally safe. You could hear the (AED) blurting out the instructions to the guys."
Doctors told the Bosmans that most people who come to the hospital in Matt's condition don't survive. They put him in a hypothermic state and medically induced coma for two days, but warned that it was possible he could have brain damage.
When Matt came out of the coma, he made a joke and quickly returned to his normal self, mentally. He was told he had suffered cardiac arrest and had 100 percent blockage in one of his arteries. Last Monday he underwent double bypass surgery and a few days later, he returned home.
"My family and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts," Caleb said in an email to Miller. "He is sore and in some pain, but doing good."
Miller was congratulated by his co-workers during a small reception at Indian Knoll last week and it was then that what happened at the ice rink "kind of sunk in." He said it was a weird experience that "choked me up a little bit" when people started praising him for saving a life.
"I know it was a big deal, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal," he said. "They're like, 'You should be proud.'"