WORTHINGTON — Ten days ago Triston Sauerbrei collapsed on the Worthington High School football field, and if not for the quick and expert work of coaches, the local police department and paramedics he might not have survived.
On Thursday, however, he was at school taking part in freshman transition day.
It was at football practice on Aug. 20 that Triston, running with his teammates at the conclusion of workouts, dropped to his knees and then, according to his father, Stacy, “went down completely.” He had no pulse.
The coaches rushed to him and administered CPR. Police were nearby and arrived quickly to intervene, and a pulse was regained. Triston was taken to Sanford Worthington Medical Center, transferred to Sioux Falls, S.D., then to Iowa City, Iowa. He was forced into a coma for about a day and a half. Slowly, he regained his consciousness while doctors continued to monitor his situation.
The heart of the matter was a heart issue, doctors determined. From what Stacy could learn, it was arrhythmia that caused cardiac arrest.
Young Sauerbrei was released to go home Sunday night.
“He’s doing really well. He’s making steady improvement,” said Stacy.
For now, Triston is under some limitations. The doctors, according to his dad, said he could get back into most normal activities as he feels able, but that doesn’t include football practice. Medical tests still need to be reviewed, and more tests need to be taken.
Sports is out of the picture for now, a reality that Stacy said isn’t easy for a sports-minded youth like his son.
“Sports is very important to him. He’s always been a gym rat,” said Stacy, who himself is a coach at WHS.
While Triston was at the hospital, Stacy said, he wanted to get back out onto the football field and play his position — quarterback.
“He kept bringing it up and bringing it up,” said the elder Sauerbrei, pointing out that at the time, Triston didn’t really understand what had happened to him.
The news from Iowa City wasn’t all bad, actually. While at the hospital there, Triston was visited by seven players from the University of Iowa football team — a highlight both Triston and Stacy, who is an Iowa fan, won’t soon forget.
Meanwhile, as Triston continues to improve and the family waits for more test results, the Sauerbreis consider themselves fortunate. They were told that the health scare could have happened anywhere, but that it happened during football practice may have saved Triston’s life.
“As far as I’m concerned, the football coaches and the police department and the paramedics are heroes,” Stacy said. “Our football coaches, it’s hard to wrap your mind around how appreciative we are of them. We were pretty fortunate that it happened where it did. And there were guys there that knew what they were doing.”
Said Stacy: “God looked over us.”