COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A young basketball player and the rest of the community at Horizon Science Academy are celebrating a second chance at life.
On Oct. 13, 17-year-old Samuel Lamboi went into cardiac arrest on the basketball court during practice.
Monday was his first day back at school since the life changing event.
This is once again putting the importance of quick action during a cardiac event is once again in the spotlight.
School leaders say it’s a small, close-knit school, so it really impacted everyone.
“We really thought we lost him. So to see him now, it’s just. It’s a miracle,” said Robert Tate, the Athletic Director, Boys Basketball Coach and Assistant Principal of School Culture.
Lamboi said he never thought this would happen to him. He said he has never experienced a heart complication until now.
“Then the last time I remember was me asking for the ball. Ball ball ball, caught it. And then all I can see was black,” Lamboi said.
The coaches said they saw it happen from the sidelines and immediately sprang into action.
“I mean, he just fell face first onto the ground. And I ran over to him and he was just like unconscious,” Tate said. ” He just wasn’t breathing at all. So I yelled for the team to call 911, and I was feeling for a pulse and [there was] like a very faint pulse at first and everything. And I started chest compressions immediately.”
Coach Tate said he yelled for Assistant Coach Brad Palmer and for someone to grab an automated external defibrillator — or an AED.
“When I came in I seen his eyes and I automatically thought, that’s cardiac arrest. He’s in cardiac arrest right now,” Palmer said. “Thank God for the operator. He was so calm with us, told us everything you need to do because I was shaking. I think both of us were shaking for all of us.”
The coaches say they followed the step by step directions on the AED.
“We do those trainings. We’re supposed to do them every year, but we never thought in the wildest dreams that we would ever have to use it,” Tate said.
Lamboi said his coaches and teammates visited him in the hospital.
“When I woke up, I didn’t really think of anything. I had, like, no memory. Like it was just black around me. And then all I can hear is, like, voices, people talking.” Lamboi said.
The coaches said seeing Lamboi open his eyes for the first time was the biggest relief. Lamboi said every day since the support hasn’t stopped.
“The support that I got empowered me to really, like, improve… So I really thank everybody for like helping me,” Lamboi said.
Monday, he and his family embraced the coaches that saved his life and gave them an appreciation award.
He also saw the t-shirts his fellow students are designing and selling in his honor.
“Was so sweet. I can’t even describe in words. I was crying a little,” Lamboi said.
They hope this second chance at life serves as a reminder that preparation is key.
“Everyone really needs to really learn CPR, how to utilize and aid,” Tate said. “when you guys look over at sam, you know, you’re basically looking at a miracle.”
Lamboi is going to be coaching the Horizon boys basketball team while he recovers.
After what happened, students at Horizon are working on becoming a Project ADAM heart safe school – which advocates for more AED placement in schools.