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LHS Player Suffers Heart Attack at Game

Lebanon — Lebanon High School sophomore Christopher Roberge was in critical condition Monday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after being airlifted to the Upper Valley Friday night after suffering an apparent heart attack during a reserve basketball game in Hopkinton, N.H.

Roberge, 15, was seated on the Lebanon bench during the second quarter when he had a medical episode that left him unresponsive and not breathing. Hopkinton High Athletic Director Dan Meserve and others performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help restore his heart beat, according to the U nion Leader.

A statement released Monday on behalf of Roberge’s mother, Carline, praised all those involved.

“We are thankful to the people at the game who helped Christopher and for the care he is receiving at Dartmouth-Hitchcock,” she said.

Ben McManus, a Hopkinton player, wrote an email to the Concord Monitor describing the scene.

“I notice one of the other team’s captain had gone stiff, then slowly his body relaxed as he dropped to the floor,” McManus said . “... They administer the shock, his body jumps. At this moment, we were escorted out.”

After leaving the floor, he and his teammates waited to hear of the outcome.

“The athletic director comes into the locker room to tell us the news. (The Lebanon player) was breathing and his heart was beating,” said McManus. “I had just witnessed someone die and come back to life. But without an AED I would have just witnessed a 15-year-old kid die.”

Lebanon reserve coach Kyle Colburn saw Roberge was in distress and turned to Meserve, who was operating the game clock, and asked for help.

“Kyle showed great thoughtfulness and leadership,” Lebanon varsity basketball coach Kieth Matte wrote in an email yesterday. “He really should be commended. He recognized the seriousness immediately (which may make all the difference), secured the site for safety, he got help immediately, assisted with the use of the AED and then cared for the rest of the team as the professionals did their job. He made sure a parent of another player went with Chris to the hospital.”

More than half the high schools in New Hampshire now have AED’s either in the gymnasium or close by. Many of those have been purchased through Matt’s Mission, a foundation started by Matt Keene, a Kimball Union Academy alumnus.

Keene was a 17-year-old junior on the KUA football team when he collapsed during practice in 2006. He turned blue, stopped breathing and was without a pulse. Only the fast action of the school’s medical team and an AED saved his life.

Since that time, Keene has devoted himself to raising awareness and funding to bring AED’s to all high schools in New Hampshire. Since its creation in 2007, Matt’s Mission has raised over $40,000 and placed over 35 AEDs in Granite State schools.

“Yes, I heard about it this morning,” said Keene, now working for a software company in Portsmouth following his graduation from UNH two years ago. “When I hear about these events, it certainly brings back memories.”

Roberge was the third case in the state that Keene has heard about. There was an incident in Raymond in January 2011 when referee Craig Evans collapsed during a jayvee girls basketball game and another a few years ago in Nashua.

“The AED saved both their lives,” said Keene. “What made it even more incredible was the AED that saved the referee’s life was the first one we placed in a school. ... It doesn’t become a real issue until something happens. People just don’t think about it. But that’s what the foundation is trying to do, keep up the awareness and raise the money to keep putting the devices in schools so if an incident like this happens again, we have a chance at saving a life.”