Ethan Middleton

Age: 13
Save Date: 12/5/2006
Activity: Basketball Game

Ethan Middleton was playing basketball when his heart failed and he fell to the court. He is 13.

The coach ran to him. The boy looked like he was sleeping. The kids stopped playing. The gym went still and quiet.

In the next few minutes, Ethan's fate was decided by the actions of the coach, Todd Richards, and the professionals who later rushed into the gym.

In the next month, the events of that December evening would awaken a small group of parents and coaches to the value of learning rescue techniques.

Ethan, lying on the court between life and death, is a ballplayer. He loves to play the game.

In early evening of Dec. 5, Ethan's parents were relaxing in their Urbandale home after a day of work - Mary Middleton at Drake University Head Start and Mark at Qwest.

Richards had wrapped up a day in sales and was doing what he loved in his off hours: coaching kids. The Urbandale Shock is his Amateur Athletic Union team. Ethan is the point guard.

A shot went up and both teams scrambled for the rebound. The Shock quickly went on a fast break, said Ryan Molander, Ethan's friend and teammate. "But Ethan didn't run down the court."

Ethan stood there, gazing into the distance. Then he fell flat on his back. Coaches swung into action, calling 911 and Middleton's home.

Fifteen seconds passed. Ethan opened his eyes. Richards asked him if he was OK, what he had eaten and if this had happened before. Ethan sat up and complained that it was hot in the Urbandale Middle School gym. He was asked to take a sip of water then passed out again.

Fifteen more seconds passed. Ethan came to again, this time more confused, more distant, said Richards.

Then Ethan had a seizure. An Urbandale police officer arrived and asked if the boy was breathing. Richards leaned in and discovered the boy wasn't moving air.

At that moment, it all kicked in.


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