A Ouachita Parish assistant coach collapsed at practice Monday before athletic trainer Phillip Shaw reacted immediately to resuscitate him.
Randy Douglas, who works with the Ouachita freshmen and was expected to take on a bigger role with the varsity defense this season, fell to the ground as his heart stopped beating during an extra point drill on the freshman field.
Fellow assistant and head baseball coach Josh Morrison said Douglas fell right in front of him, and he immediately called Shaw, who was several yards away on the turf with the varsity.
“(Shaw) wasted no time,” Morrison said. “He got to him quick and immediately started working on him. You want to talk about miracles. That was a miracle.”
Shaw performed CPR and shocked him twice with an automated external defibrillator before Douglas regained consciousness approximately 10 minutes later.
“I immediately started performing CPR and had one of the coaches run and get me the AED, which was about 60 or 70 yards away,” Shaw said. “First time I was introduced to CPR was in 1985 and Monday was the first time I ever had to do it on a person. I’ve had friends of mine where it didn’t work out positive. I’m just glad my first experience was a positive one.”
The plan in place worked. Douglas’ life was saved, and the ambulance arrived shortly after to transport Douglas to the hospital. Shaw said he went to the hospital with Douglas and learned from the doctor that Douglas’ collapse was not a result of blockage.
“The doctor told me his electrical system just went haywire,” Shaw said. “We’re fortunate here in Ouachita Parish schools that leadership provides us with the equipment we need. The AED was on site and we had all the training. I’m just happy it happened when it did and where it did. If it happened anywhere else but on that practice field, we may be talking about a different story today.”
Douglas was released from the hospital Wednesday, and Ouachita head coach Jeff Fitzgerald said he was watching TV and relaxing just days after nearly losing his life.
“You have to be ready at any point and time because you never know when you’ll take your last breath,” Fitzgerald said. “Thankfully Jesus put this man at the right place at the right time for his heart to stop beating.”
There is no timetable set for Douglas to return to the team, as he continues to recover. Shaw did acknowledge the interactions between he and Douglas have been “a little different” since Monday.
“We were definitely friends before, but I told him the other day, ‘We’re connected for life now, dude,’” Shaw said.