Saxony Lutheran’s Trae Robinson feeling better after health scare during AAU game
Mark Ruark wasn’t there when Trae Robinson collapsed on the basketball court.
But when Ruark, Saxony Lutheran’s principal, saw the video, it scared him.
Robinson, who played basketball for Saxony Lutheran last season, was on the defensive end of the court during an AAU tournament game July 29 in Kansas City, Missouri, when he suddenly stood straight up and then fell flat on the floor like a tree hitting the ground, according to Ruark.
Robinson’s heart had stopped beating; he didn’t respond to CPR.
Luckily, the gym had an automated external defibrillator (AED). A few shocks from the defibrillator was able to restart Robinson’s heartbeat.
Following a few days in the hospital, Robinson is now back home in Jackson and plans to attend the first day of school on August 17. Robinson’s mother, Christie Crain, said he is recovering remarkably well. She credits the AED and a woman who took control of the situation with saving her son’s life.
“He’s very fortunate,” Ruark said. “God was with him, without question. The fact that there was an AED there, because according to what his mother has told me and what the doctors and nurses told him, he had basically a potential for a fatal heart rhythm. I’m not a doctor, but the outcome could have been a real tragedy if there was not an AED in that gym.”
Robinson returned home Thursday and is now walking under his own power. Saturday about 125 people attended a welcome home party for Robinson at Cape County Park North, Crain said.
“He has no recollection of what happened,” Crain said. “He’s an 18-year-old kid and he’s bouncing back tremendously.”
After collapsing on the court while playing for the Jackson-based Rainmakers Premier 17U team, Robinson went under the knife at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and the doctors there diagnosed him with Long QT syndrome. It’s a rare heart condition that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats.
“In most cases it can be fatal because you don’t have any symptoms and then it occurs,” Ruark said. “They did surgery on him. They put a defibrillator in his chest that will monitor his heart and then if his heartbeat stops it will shock it. So there are some things they can do to treat it. They can’t cure it, but they certainly can treat it.
“The chances are -- I don’t want to speak for him or the doctors -- but the chances are good now that they’re aware of it that he can live a normal, long, happy life.”
Robinson’s future in basketball is uncertain. He will know more after Sept. 28, when he’s scheduled to meet a cardiologist. The specialist will run Robinson through a string of tests to study how his heart responds, Crain said. The family and doctors will then consult and decide if Robinson can return to the hardwood.
“He would love to. That’s his love, the game of basketball,” Crain said. “Now we’re focused on him being alive. We’re just taking it day by day. His lifestyle is going to change, at least for a couple months. ... It’s going to be a slow going.”
Along with basketball, Robinson is on the Crusaders’ track and field team and sings in the choir.
“He’s a very talented kid, and I’m not talking about just from an athletic standpoint,” Ruark said. “He’s a very talented singer. He’s in the choir, has a beautiful voice. He’s an outstanding academic kid. He has a bright future ahead of him no matter what he does, so yeah we’ll be anxious to have him back at school and see his smiling face.”
Saxony already has an AED in their home gym and had talked about getting another one for sports played outside, such as baseball, softball and boys and girls soccer. Those teams practice and play on the school’s campus.
The health scare with Robinson just reinforced to Ruark the importance of multiple AEDs and being prepared to use CPR or first aid when necessary.
“We hope and pray that nothing like that certainly never happens again, but you certainly want to make sure if something ever occurs you have everything in place to try to make the situation turn out as well as it did for Trae,” Ruark said.
“When you see something happen up close and personal like it does with Trae, one of our students, then you realize all those things (AEDs, CPR and first aid training) are important because it does save lives and that’s the whole goal.”
After seeing the lifesaving impact of an AED first-hand, Crain believes they should be in every gym where kids are playing sports.
After all, without that piece of equipment the outcome could have been very different for her son.
“We’re just happy he’s still with us, and we’re happy that things ended the way they did,” Crain said. “We could have had a much worse outcome.”