East Hanover, NJ–By Justin Zaremba | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Quick action by a township police officer and an athletic trainer helped save the life of a 16-year-old who went into cardiac arrest during a high school basketball game Saturday afternoon.
It was while Morris Knolls boys’ basketball team was away at Hanover Park High School when a 16-year-old boy passed out on the court, East Hanover Sgt. Jack Ambrose said.
Patrol Officer Mariusz “Mario” Zamojski, a seven-year member of the police department, and athletic trainer Joe Frasciello, who works for Sportscare Performance Institute in Whippany, immediately rushed over to assess the Morris Knolls student, Ambrose said.
Zamojski told NJ Advance Media the student was taking a foul shot “when he appeared to go rigid and just fell backwards against the court.” The student fell hard, he said, with his head bouncing off the court.
The boy was unresponsive, wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, so Zamojski and Frasciello began to perform CPR, Ambrose said.
After three rounds of chest compressions and rescue breaths, Frasciello and Zamojski hooked the boy up to an automatic defibrillator. But, there was a complication.
About a hundred or so people were in the bleachers including the boy’s parents, so the scene was loud and “chaotic,” Zamojski said, making it hard for them to hear when the device was ready to shock the boy.
“I’m glad no one was touching the boy’s body,” he said.
After one shock, the boy started breathing again.
“When I was there, it felt like it was forever (from fall to reviving the boy),” Zamojski said. “But, it was probably two to three minutes.”
The boy was taken to Morristown Medical Center in stable condition, Ambrose said.
“It was pretty intense,” Zamojski said. “Adrenaline just pumps through your body. Joe was very good. He knew what he was doing.”
East Hanover Police Capt. James Monaghan said both Zamojski, for whom this was his first CPR save, and Frasciello performed well under difficult circumstances.
“Although it was a chaotic scene, both Mario and Joe were highly trained and able to save this kid’s life.”
Monaghan said Zamojski is “one of those officers who’s engaged with the community,” and that Frasciello “performed valiantly.”
“Mariusz exemplifies the great traditions of the East Hanover Police Department,” Monaghan said. “He’s an immigrant from Poland who has achieved greatness in our country. He’s one of those officers who’s engaged with the community.”
“This incident speaks to the reasons why athletic trainers and police officers are at high school events,” Monaghan said. “They kept their calm and reverted to their training. I’m really proud of both of them.”