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Quick thinking by fans, coaches saves life of Perry Hall High field hockey player

Field HockeyWii

Beth Beautz wanted to see her friend Audrey White's daughter play a varsity field hockey game for Catonsville High School, so Beautz decided to attend the Comets' Sept. 27 game against visiting Perry Hall.

But Beautz never saw the team play that evening. Instead, she helped save a life.

The junior varsity game between the two schools had just finished when Perry Hall player Breanna Sudano collapsed on the field and stopped breathing.

"I saw a woman run across the field and I knew it didn't look right," Beautz said.

Beautz, a cardiology nurse since 1989, saw the situation escalate into a serious emergency when Catonsville JV coach Christine Ehrlichman began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Breanna.

Having just completed a course in advanced cardiac life support — it emphasizes more compressions per minute — Beautz ran across the field to help.

"I just took over for the coach doing compressions," Beautz said.

After 911 was called, Beautz, Ehrlichman, Perry Hall varsity coach Chastin Faith, Catonsville parents Shelly Hunt and Melissa Law alternately took turns giving CPR before Baltimore County paramedics arrived.

"The JV coach (Ehrlichman) deserves a lot of credit. She acted quickly and started CPR," Beautz said.

As the rapid compressions continued, Beautz saw a positive sign from Breanna; she was trying to get a breath.

"She had a lot of fight," Beautz said.

Paramedics from Medic Unit 4 arrived at the scene, and used an electric shock from an automated external defibrillator to increase Breanna's heart rate.She was then transported to St. Agnes Hospital and later moved to the University of Maryland Pediatric Unit.

Three days after Breanna collapsed, Perry Hall athletic director Bob Hruz said Breanna was "walking around, eating cookies and playing Wii."

When Beautz heard the news of Breanna's improved condition, she was elated.

"A miracle happened and she made it. I am just very, very happy for that family," Beautz said.

Beautz credited all who came to Breanna's aid: ""There is no way one person could have done CPR by themselves. It was a team effort."

She was modest about her role in helping to save Breanna's life.

"You are taught to do CPR until somebody comes to relieve you," Beautz said. "I just did what I was trained to do."

Because the varsity game was postponed that day, the Catonsville Booster Club reached out to the the Gators' hockey community by holding a joint tailgate after the varsity squads met for the makeup match Oct. 10.

Perry Hall won the game, 3-2, at Honeygo Park, but the real winners were Breanna's family, friends and teammates.

Breanna's older sister, Sam, was among those who shared in the postgame festivities.

"It was well-attended and both teams were interactive," Catonsville High coach Lindsey Springer said. "It was a bonding experience for those girls."

Perry Hall parents and friends wore T-shirts in teal, Breanna's favorite color, with the words, 'Bre Strong' written on the front.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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