Steve Jantz is scheduled to head home from the hospital this morning, thankful to be alive.
The Wilbur High School athletic director had just finished announcing the lineups for a home volleyball match last Saturday when he had a cardiac arrest and crumpled to the floor.
“The last thing I remember was I could feel myself go out,” Jantz, 47, said. “I started to say I need help and people on the other side of the gym heard me say it through the microphone.”
Help arrived immediately. The first person on the scene was Phin Haglin, chairman of Wilbur School District school board and husband of the head volleyball coach.
“He had me turned over,” the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jantz said. “I was turning blue, gray and purple within 20 to 30 seconds.”
Next on the scene was Brandi Maioho, a registered nurse at Davenport Hospital who was watching the match.
“She took over, telling people what they needed to do,” Jantz said.
Fortunately for Jantz, he and superintendent Steve Gaub talked last year about buying a defibrillator to have at the school for emergencies such as his.
Maioho started using the defibrillator, giving Jantz the first shock within 90 seconds, he said.
“Statistics show that if the first shock is given within a minute the survival rate is 90 percent,” Jantz said. “After 2 minutes it drops to 70 percent. At the 10-minute level it’s down to 2 percent.”
Things weren’t looking good at about the 10-minute mark, Jantz said. A third shock was given moments later and Jantz’s hands started to move and his eyes began to open, he said.
“After the fourth shock they felt confident enough that I could be transported,” Jantz said.
He was driven by ambulance to a rest area about 15 miles east of Wilbur where a helicopter from Sacred Heart picked him up.
“I had a cardiac arrest, not a heart attack,” Jantz said. “There’s a difference. A cardiac arrest is electrical. I basically needed to call the electrician, not the plumber.”
A small defibrillator the size of two silver dollars was inserted into Jantz’s chest. It will stop any future electrical activity near his heart.
“They say it will be good for 10 years and then another one will have to be put in,” Jantz said.
Jantz plans on being a living ambassador on the need for schools to have defibrillator on site.
“The treatment I received from the moment it happened was incredible, quick and persistent,” he said. “And the outpouring of thoughts and prayers from our students, faculty and community and throughout the Bi-County League is unbelievable. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of them. This was a miracle. Sometimes we overuse the word, but I’m fine with it. I’ve got a second chance to be with my family and friends.” The Lord probably has plans for me and I’ve got to follow through on them.”