Save Date: 9/14/2001
Activity: At football practice
Except for all the anxiety surrounding the recent September 11 tragedy, September 14, 2001 was a typical day for Nick Giorgione, an eighth grader who lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. That September day he went to his N.Y.F.L. practice. Upon arriving for practice, he did the usual warm-up of running a lap and proceeded to do a few jumping jacks. Almost immediately, with just a slight feeling of dizziness, Nick collapsed. One of the coaches told him to get up and stop fooling around, but a teammate looked at him and said, "Coach, I don't think he's getting up." The coaches immediately took action. One mother who was attending the practice called 9-1-1. Another coach and a mother (who had just a day before received her CPR training certificate) started CPR. His teammates kneeled down and prayed as the rescuers continued CPR and impatiently waited for the paramedics. Fortunately, the fire station was located only a few blocks from the field and help was there in five minutes. The paramedics verified that he was in V-Fib and shocked him. He immediately responded with a normal rhythm. The first thing he uttered when put into the ambulance was, "Oh no! Now my mother is never going to let me play football again!" Unfortunately, it was the night before his first game and since he received an AICD shortly afterward, this certainly was the case. Nick is alive today because the chain of survival was implemented immediately and ordinary people did their part to make sure the chain was not broken. Without the CPR and especially the timely arrival of an AED, Nick would certainly be dead today. As a parent, I will never forget what these "ordinary" people did to help save my son. The coach and the mother were subsequently recognized by the local fire department to receive the first citizen award for heroism. Without the timely arrival of an AED, Nick would not be doing all the ordinary things teenagers do, like getting his driver's license, going to dances and still being an active teenager who loves playing basketball. The dynamic individual that he is would just be a memory. As an added note to this story, even despite seeing cardiologists from the young age of four because of a heart murmur, his condition (HCM) was never correctly diagnosed. He had many ECGs from two doctors and also passed his football exam easily. His last echo was one month before his cardiac arrest. He was completely asymptomatic with his only and first symptom being sudden death. He was always an active child and played sports from the age of six. He played competitive basketball for two years before his event.