‘I’m thankful for all of them’: Student meets Scottsdale firefighters who helped save his life

A senior at Coronado High School reunited with firefighters who helped save his life after he collapsed during football practice last month.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 4:09 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Almost a month ago on Aug. 23, Coronado High School senior Nathan Higuera went into cardiac arrest during early morning football practice. “As the first responders came in over here in the track, I noticed that his breathing stopped, so I just yelled, ‘blue line, blue line,’ and started CPR immediately,” said Rick Benjamin, Coronado’s head football coach.

After several days in the hospital, Higuera was diagnosed with a heart condition. “I just couldn’t believe it,” said Vanessa Higuera, Nathan’s mom. “Nathan has always been healthy and has been working out with me since he was 12 years old, and I was just scared.”

Since then, Nathan has made a miraculous recovery and is back at school. He thanks his coach and first responders who responded so quickly to help him. “I’m thankful for all of them. They really came and helped me. Honestly, helped me be here today,” he said.

In an emotional exchange, Nathan was able to meet with the first responders who answered the call and helped save his life. “We were able to follow up with him and meet him today, which was great,” said Nick Bright, a Scottsdale firefighter.

To help make sure every student who steps on the field is safe, the Scottsdale Fire Dept. and Honor Health donated a brand new AED to the school’s athletic department. “We have two on our campus. One is in the athletic training room, but the only one that has access is me and security, and our second one is in our nurse’s office, but it’s quiet and a ways away,’ said Tessa Powell, the head athletic trainer at Coronado High School.

Nathan’s mom hopes to spread awareness about the importance of learning CPR and using an AED. “It’s going to save so many lives. I mean, it saved my son’s life,” Vanessa said.

Learn more about local CPR classes near you here.

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