By: Megan Palera
Kelsey Neal was just 14 when she went into cardiac arrest. Her dad saved her life by performing CPR - something he learned in high school. Now the family is trying to get all high schoolers CPR certified.
"Five years ago, I had a cardiac arrest," Neal said.
Remembering her near-death experience is still an emotional subject for the 19-year-old. But she shares her story in hopes of saving others.
"My mom called 911 while my dad was able to start CPR and he was able to perform CPR because he received that training while he was in high school," Neal said.
The Neal family - all CPR trained - are speaking up in support of LB 365. It would require all Nebraska high school students to complete an instructional program on basic first aid, CPR and use and an automated external defibrillator known as an AED. That training would be required to graduate.
15 states, including Iowa, require some sort of CPR training in the high school.
"If they don't learn it in high school, I guess I'm not sure how many people are gonna go out of their way to go out and do that. And I don't know what else you can do in life that is so simple really and yet has such a profound payoff; a profound reward," Kelsey's dad, Brett said.
The American Heart Association says every year 250,000 people die from cardiac arrest. CPR or use of an AED could save at least 20,000 of those lives, just like it did for the Wayne State freshman.
"I'm a survivor because of CPR and I just want to make people know that it's so simple and it's so effective and you can save many lives by it," Neal said.
There was no action taken on the bill Monday. As for Kelsey, she still doesn't know what caused her to go into cardiac arrest. She lives with an implanted cardiac defibrillator and says life is good.