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U-High Boosts AED Use After Basketball Player Collapses

University High School and the family of a basketball player there are trying to turn near tragedy into life saving at other schools.

Kai Bates-Diop dropped to the floor of the gym during practice recently with sudden cardiac arrest.

Kai's mother, Wilma Bates, says students ran for a trainer who started CPR and other school officials grabbed an Automatic External Defibrillator, or AED. The procedure revived Kai Bates-Diop.

State law requires every school to have the devices. Bates said some schools don't, particularly in rural areas.

"Schools that may not be able to completely afford the thousand to sixteen hundred dollar price tag to have one in their building. And while they may think oh that will never happen, you just never know. His particular heart condition affects maybe one in 500 but, there could be many other reasons as to why someone would need one," said Bates.

U-High is selling t-shirts to help other schools purchase defibrillators. Bates said people can buy the shirts up until the last game of the regular season Friday night.

Bates said all public places should be prepared with AEDs in case of emergency.
"If they have them, make sure that people know how to use them. It's sort of life saving for dummies. It walks you through just where to put the leads, what to do. It's very very simple to follow," said Bates

Bates said Kai will lead a normal life. He revived almost immediately after the first shock and had a lot of questions why people were standing over him. She said he did not recall collapsing.

Shirts are $10 dollars, all sizes. They are available through the High School Athletic Department or on line. Bates said the initial order sold out in a matter of hours.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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