'Hearts 4 Hockey' gives defibrillators to rinks
WESTBORO, Mass. -- Two young men have proved they have hearts of champions. One nearly lost his life after he was hit in the chest with a hockey puck. Another player then started a campaign to raise money so that every hockey rink in Massachusetts would have defibrillators.
“That’s what saved my life,” Tyler Symes said.
Tyler Symes, 16, was on hand to see the Northbridge High School hockey team receive a new defibrillator on Tuesday night. It was a donation inspired by Symes’ injury during a hockey game more than one year ago.
“The point had the puck and they went to go take a shot, and the shot came up so high it hit me in the chest. It just hit me at the wrong second and it stopped my heart,” Symes said.
Symes’ heart stopped for eight minutes.
“They tried CPR and everything, but the defibrillator was there and that’s what saved my life,” Symes said.
Sean Burns, 14, didn’t know Symes, but heard his story.
“I just thought, ‘Wow, that could actually happen to me,’” Burns said.
Burns said defibrillators are rarely around.
“I skate at a lot of rinks and I’ve honestly never seen one,” said Burns.
Burns then started “Hearts 4 Hockey;” a campaign to get defibrillators to youth hockey teams.
“My goal is to provide AD’s for all the local high schools in the area,” Burns said.
Thanks to funds from local businesses, Burns has donated 10 defibrillators, and counting; a gift not only for the heart, but for the peace of mind for players likes Symes.
“Just having it there and me knowing that it’s there, it just makes me feel so much safer,” said Symes.
Symes hopes to return to playing hockey very soon.
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