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Chicago Area Men Bonded By Near Tragedy, Credit AED For Saving A Life

Demetrio Torres and Ron Newman with HeartSine AED
Demetrio Torres (Left) and Ron Newman (Right)

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CBS) -- It started out a regular day on the basketball court at Christ Community Church in St. Charles.

"We play basketball every Saturday morning. There were probably 30 plus guys playing on two courts," said Ron Newman, South Elgin.

Chicago Area Men Bonded By Near Tragedy, Credit AED For Saving A Life

But soon enough, he noticed someone had collapsed.

"It was all very tense and it was a haze of what was going on.

36-year-old Matt Krueger was in cardiac arrest.

"I got very, very light headed and I don't remember a whole lot after that," said Krueger. Newman and his teammate Illinois State Trooper Demetrio Torres, who had just returned to the gym, knew they had to act quickly.

"There was no doubt in my mind that his heart had stopped. I went from holding his hand to trying to feel for a pulse," said Newman.

Thanks to an AED on the wall, the two men were prompted to shock his heart and he regained consciousness.

"The AED prompted it red, and it said shock advised and Ron ended up hitting the shock button," said Torres.

Torres says he credits the device and his police training to being able to help his friend.
"Ive been on the job for 19 years so I've dealt with a lot of medical emergencies on the road," said Torres.

Krueger had a history of cardiac disease but the life and death situation he says, has changed him.

"You never think you're going to read a report about yourself that said sudden cardiac death," said Krueger.

For Newman and Torres, it's an event that will bond them forever.

"When I went and visited him and met his family, it was a very emotional experience. We will be connected for the rest of our lives," said Newman who also says he'll never look at an AED the same way.

"We were just shocked and amazed we were able to do something for him. You might see these things on the wall, you really don't think twice about them. If they didn't have that there, the outcome would've been terrible."

Newman has become a new advocate for defibrillators and believes they should be in all public places.

"If that wasn't there, I don't know what would've happened."

Thanks to a program called Forward Hearts, HeartSine, the AED manufacturer, will donate a defibrillator in honor of Krueger and his life changing experience.

Matt Facebook pic
Matt Krueger.

"I felt perfectly fine that morning so you never know when you're life can change in a instant," said Krueger.

"It's a debt you can never repay. I just feel very fortunate."

He hopes his miraculous survival can be used as an educational tool for others.

"The vast majority of the population does not know how to use a defibrillator and is just not ready on a number of fronts so however we can get the word out about that is a blessing for me."

Krueger lives in Genoa and has four children between the ages of 2 and 9 years old.

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