Jose Agredano Jr. has always admired his mom’s heart, intelligence and persistence. Those qualities helped her save his life when he collapsed on the soccer field.
Agredano, 45, was a hero in the eyes of her son even before that day.
“I always have seen her as a hero and an amazing person,” said Jose Agredano Jr., 16, a sophomore at San Benito High School in Hollister, California. But after she saved him, he said: “I looked at her a little brighter.”
“She’s a giver and she’s really smart and she doesn’t give up,” Jose added.
Those qualities in his mom may have saved his life.
Jose was playing in a junior varsity soccer game on Feb. 16., when the ball hit him in the chest and he fell to the ground.
“I was just really dizzy, and everything was really blurry,” he said. “I tried to keep my balance, but I went down on one knee and then I collapsed.”
Agredano hadn’t seen the play and thought Jose may have suffered a concussion. She and her husband ran to his side as he lay still on the field. The family later learned that Jose had suffered commotio cordis, or cardiac arrest caused by blunt impact to the chest, his mom said.
“The ball hit him in the heart, and it threw his heart into an abnormal rhythm, and the only way to recover is CPR and an electrical shock,” said Agredano.
Jose was breathing but unresponsive. Agredano told people to call 911, and when the sports trainer asked what she needed, she requested oxygen, as her son’s breathing had become labored, and the AED, or Automated External Defibrillator.
As Agredano checked her son’s breathing and his pupils and tried to talk to him, “I was feeling scared and frightened, and everything was surreal and my emotions were still there because I was his mother,” she said.
But then Jose stopped breathing, his lips turned blue and everything changed for Agredano. She brushed her feelings to the side, and the doctor who hadn’t handled a trauma since residency began performing CPR on her son.
“It was game on,” she said. With a single focus, she kept telling herself: “He’s not going to die today. We’re not going to die today.”
“All of those emotions just stopped, and it was like a surge of adrenaline, this fight-or-flight-type thing, that my son’s not going to die,” she said. “That took over.”