By Stacey Gualandi. CREATED Dec 20, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- "I'm not nervous. I know they are going to do the best they can," says Derrick Hood before undergoing heart surgery Friday morning.
This 15-year-old Liberty High school student was diagnosed with what his doctor calls a coronary artery anomaly, something he was born with..
One month ago, Derrick was a healthy athletic teenager. But during a wrestling practice, he went into cardiac arrest and his athletic trainer, Scott Tschan, went into action. He knew how to use a defibrillator.
Derrick's dad Mike says, "We were so blessed it happened at school and that he had someone who was there and trained and knew what to do."
If not for the trainer's quick thinking, Derrick wouldn't have survived.
Does he look back at that day and think how close he came? "Yeah, I've done that quite a few times since then. I'm just thankful I'm still here," says Derrick.
While it's taken its toll on them financially, and Derrick will likely be in the hospital for the holidays, it's given the Hood family a new perspective on life.
"It's rough. It's going to be a tight Christmas but we have him so it's probably the best Christmas I an imagine," says Mike Hood.
Derrick should take about six months to recover. He says someday he wants to be a Navy SEAL.
Derrick's doctor says his condition is rare. Less than one in a 100,000 go into cardiac arrest under 35 years of age. But parents shouldn't panic.
Most teens are not at high risk. But it is important to look at your family history, don't ignore signs and symptoms, and take precautions. Also, the importance of AED's in schools can't be emphasized enough.
If you would like to help Derrick's family with the medical costs, donations are being accepted here.