Basketball coach saves student with CPR and an AED

OTTAWA, May 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Grade 10 student is alive today thanks to the quick provision of CPR and the use of an AED by his basketball coach Mike Rowley, of St. Mother Teresa High School. Since 1994, the ACT Foundation has established free High School CPR and AED training Program in over 1,800 high schools across Canada.

Zachary Legault, ‘Zach’ as his friends call him, is an energetic student who loves sports. But at this school year’s basketball tryout – Zach’s heart stopped.

“I was adding names to my team shortlist when I saw a student come off the court hunched over,” says Coach Mike. “It was Zach, and he was gasping for air.” Suddenly Zach collapsed face-first on the floor sending an echoing thud across the gym. “My instincts kicked in. It was the ACT training,” says Mike, who told his Assistant Coach, Yvan, to call 911.

Coach Mike quickly assessed that Zach was unresponsive and not breathing. He began CPR and using the school’s AED, saved his student’s life.

“I can tell you as a mom, receiving the phone call was nothing short of traumatic. But to hear over and over in the days that followed from paramedics, ER physicians, and the team of cardiologists, that had the coach not responded so quickly performing CPR and using the AED, Zach would not be with us today,” says Stephanie Muldoon, Zach’s mother.

Zach underwent open-heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to fix a previously unknown heart defect he has had since birth. Zach has made a full recovery.

Zach would like to see everyone empowered to save a life. “It can happen to a family member, a friend, it can happen to anyone around you. You wouldn’t expect a young athlete to have a cardiac arrest, but I'm an example of what can happen,” says Zach.

“The ACT Foundation coordinates the training of thousands of teachers enabling them to train hundreds of thousands of students across Canada every year in lifesaving skills,” says Sandra Clarke, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “ACT set up the High School CPR Program at St. Mother Teresa High School in 1998, adding the AED training program for students in 2009.”

To date, 8,300 teachers across Canada are trained as CPR instructors for their students and 4.8 million students have learned how to save a life through the ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Program. Many lives have been saved.

Partner and Community Quotes

AstraZeneca Canada, ACT National Health Partner
Kiersten Combs, President of AstraZeneca Canada
“We’re proud to be a long-standing partner of the ACT Foundation – supporting its goal of establishing CPR and defibrillator training in Canadian high schools, providing youth with critical life-saving skills, and raising awareness of the importance of cardiovascular health,” says Kiersten Combs, President of AstraZeneca Canada. “Stories like Zach’s and the quick thinking of his coach Mike Rowley are a great reminder of the impact that initiatives like the ACT High School CPR Program can have by empowering teachers and students to help save lives.”

Amgen Canada, ACT National Health Partner
Dr. Suna Avcil, Executive Medical Director of Amgen Canada
“Amgen is honoured to support the ACT Foundation as a National Health Partner,” says Dr. Suna Avcil, Executive Medical Director of Amgen Canada. “Rescue stories are a testament to the quality of the program and the criticality of ensuring that the education community is equipped with the knowledge and skills to contribute. Together we will continue to advance excellence in science literacy, inspire the next generation, help educators to teach more effectively, and improve access to resources for teachers, students, and society at large.”

Hydro One, ACT Provincial Partner, Ontario
Jay Armitage, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Hydro One
“We would like to commend Coach Mike for his quick instinct to put his first aid training into action. This real-life rescue demonstrates the importance of equipping young people and their teachers with the lifesaving skills necessary to build safe communities," said Jay Armitage, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Hydro One. “Thanks to his CPR and AED training received through the program, Coach Mike had the invaluable tools needed to act fast and save a life.”

Ottawa Catholic School Board, Participating School Board
Tom D'Amico, Director of Education, Ottawa Catholic School Board
“I'm proud of the actions by Coach Mike Rowley. Teachers enter the profession to make a difference in the lives of youth, and in this situation, thanks to his training and the availability of an AED in the school, he was able to save the life of a student athlete.”

Read the full ACT rescue story here:

See the ACT rescue video here:

About The ACT Foundation
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is the national charitable organization establishing free CPR training in Canadian high schools. The program is built on ACT’s award-winning community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners who donate the mannequins and AED training units that schools need to deliver the program. High school teachers are trained to teach their students lifesaving skills as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth before graduation. More than 4.8 million youth have been trained in CPR by their teachers through this lifesaving program to date.

The ACT High School CPR and AED Program is made possible with the support of its National Health Partners AstraZeneca Canada and Amgen Canada and its provincial partner Hydro One.
Twitter:@actfoundation #ACT2Save


The ACT Foundation
Cristiane Doherty
Communications Manager
Mobile: 613-799-9277

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at