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MHS grad helps save man's life

BRITTON -- In a matter of seconds, Brady Maxwell made a decision that saved a man's life.

Maxwell, a 19-year-old Mitchell High School graduate, arrived at a convenience store for breakfast around 9 a.m. March 10 in Britton and saw an older man collapsed on the ground inside.

"He had just gone down two or three seconds before I walked in," Maxwell said in a recent interview with The Daily Republic. "The people that were in there looked pretty shocked. "

Within seconds, Maxwell removed his coat, rushed to the ground beside the fallen man and began performing CPR.

"It was natural instinct," he said. "I knew he was having a heart attack and that CPR needed to be started immediately."

While 911 was called soon after the victim collapsed, it took more than 20 minutes for paramedics to arrive. For the entire time, Maxwell continued to perform CPR.

"It was physically exhausting," he said. "It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done."

As a senior at Mitchell High School in 2012, Maxwell helped the boys' basketball team win the Eastern South Dakota Conference with an 11-3 record and finish second at the Class AA state tournament.

Once paramedics arrived, the victim was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Aberdeen and has since been released, according to Deb Maxwell, Brady Maxwell's mother.

Deb Maxwell lives in Britton and was at work when the incident occurred. When she heard what happened, she quickly met up with her son.

"I was kind of in shock," she said in a recent interview with The Daily Republic. "I gave him a hug and told him I was proud of him."

In Britton, a town of less than 1,300 people, news of the incident spread quickly, Deb Maxwell said.

"Everybody is really proud of him," she said.

Since the incident, Brady Maxwell has had the opportunity to meet the victim and his family.

"I can't tell that he had a heart attack a couple weeks ago," Maxwell said.

Clayton Gropper, Mitchell High School's head athletic trainer, taught Maxwell CPR as part of the high school's survey of health class. After the incident, Maxwell sent Gropper a message on Facebook detailing what happened.

"I was just happy to know that he remembered some of the skills we taught in the class and that he wasn't afraid to use them," Gropper said.

Statistics show Maxwell's actions likely played a vital role in saving the victim's life. According to the American Heart Association, effective CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim's chance of survival.

Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States, according to the American Heart Association, and fewer than 12 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.

"The real reward is that he is alive," Maxwell said. "Having a chance to talk to him, that's as good as it gets."