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In Control When It Matters the Most

Kearsarge’s Oliver Gallo, right, is blocked by Lebanon’s Martin Gradijan during a Kearsarge boys basketball scrimmage at Lebanon High School yesterday.  During football season, Gallo took control during a harrowing situation. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Kearsarge’s Oliver Gallo, right, is blocked by Lebanon’s Martin Gradijan during a Kearsarge boys basketball scrimmage at Lebanon High School yesterday. During football season, Gallo took control during a harrowing situation. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

North Sutton, n.h. — Kearsarge Regional High senior Oliver Gallo is a high-honors student and a first-team all-state running back. His football coach, Zach Matthews, athletic director Scott Fitzgerald and one of his teachers, Amanda Davis, can’t say enough about his character.

There is more to this young man, however. Oliver Gallo can be considered a saver of lives — including his own.

Consider what happened one Saturday morning this September. The previous evening, the Cougars had lost a tough football game in Somersworth. The next morning the team was up early and out fundraising. Gallo was in the front seat of a very old, small Toyota driven by senior classmate and quarterback Peter Allen. There were two sophomores in the back. The foursome were traveling down Shaker Road, which goes from New London to Sutton, and headed downhill at 45-50 mph when Allen has a seizure.

“All of a sudden I realized that Pete’s head was turned and he was not watching the road,” Gallo said. “I yelled, ‘Pete, what are you doing?’ The kids in the back were screaming and then I saw that Pete was passed out and we were going downhill much too fast.”

What happened next kind of boggled the mind of Matthews, but he was not surprised.

“Ollie is that kind of guy, ” he said.

So what did Gallo do?

“I reached over and shut the car off and it slowed us down some,” Gallo said. “I then took my left leg and maneuvered myself into a position where I could put my foot on the brake and kept pumping it. I was then able to steer the car off the road and stop it.”

Gallo then jumped out of the car, went around to Allen’s side, pulled him out of the car, laid him on the ground and called 911.

“They got there in about 15 minutes, but it seemed like an hour,” Gallo said.

There were several other cars with football players following, and there was some panicking as Allen lay on the ground, now regaining consciousness. Matthews was at the high school, got a call and quickly got to where Allen was.

“But Ollie had everything under control,” said Matthews.

Today, Gallo and Allen are teammates on the Kearsarge basketball team ,and both are making plans for college.

What caused Allen’s seizure is not totally known, but he has been told sleep deprivation is the likely cause. He has had previous seizures, but not for a long time. He says his medication, which he’ll have to take for a while, has him in good shape.

“I feel very fortunate,” said Allen. “I think my friend here might have saved my life.”

Matthews kind of shudders when he thinks what might have happened in that car if Gallo was not there.

“What if it had been Peter and the two sophomores? No doubt it could have been disastrous,” he said. “People could have been seriously injured — or worse,” Matthews said.

Allen does not remember a whole lot about the event. He recalls people talking to him as he was being put in the ambulance, but has no idea what they were saying.

Allen spent about four hours in New London Hospital and was released. Gallo was there at the hospital as well.

“Of course I was there,” said Gallo. “ After all, Peter is my best friend.”