15-year-old Preston Settles experienced unusual chest pain and turned to his teammate during a basketball game last Saturday.
Settles, a freshman at the Brooks School in North Andover, collapsed on the court moments after telling his friend, “my heart feels like it’s spasming.”
His parents rushed to his side, wondering if he fainted or was having a seizure.
Newton teen is still fighting for his life after he collapsed during a basketball game https://t.co/Y1azLgJed5
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 12, 2022
“After a period of time lapsed, it was clear that neither one of those were the case,” said the teenager’s mother, Lisa M. Owens, who is a doctor.
“He stopped breathing.”
Settles was rushed to Tufts Medical Center, where he’s still fighting for his life after the terrifying incident.
15-year-old Preston Settles is fighting for his life after collapsing during a basketball game at the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. https://t.co/j12moMEBcM
— 48 Hours (@48hours) February 11, 2022
Keeping Preston Settles in my heart. https://t.co/0nLfMtGT6w
— Heshan de Silva-Weeramuni — Bluesky: @heshan🗳️ (@wheresmyporsche) February 12, 2022
CBS Boston reported:
He went to the bench to catch his breath. “And all of a sudden, my husband said, ‘Preston’s down,’” said his mother.
He had collapsed, and his arms were flailing. “His eyes were just flaring up, and so I did this to him,” said his father waving his hand in front of his eyes. “There was absolutely no response, and then he just stopped breathing.” He had gone into cardiac arrest.
It happened at the Brooks School in North Andover, where Preston is a freshman. People there jumped into action with CPR until the emergency crew arrived. He was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital on an automatic CPR machine and breathing tube for an hour. His mother, who is a doctor herself, said she will always remember when the doctor came into their room to say Preston still had no heartbeat.
“You could just tell by her demeanor, they brought in the psychologist, they were basically telling us that it was starting to look like the beginning of the end,” she said. “Then I say, this is impossible. It can’t be possible. The attendant came in and said his heartbeat is back! We’re going to MedFlight him out of here.”
That’s when he landed at Tufts Medical Center. “His oxygen saturation was 25%, and we rarely see a patient survive an oxygen percent of below 50,” said Dr. Haval Chweich, who was on duty that night in the ICU.
“There are certain predisposing factors which they had no idea about, which we think we have a better idea about, that we’re going to be investigating, about structural problems with the heart,” said Dr. Carey Kimmelstiel, a cardiologist who’s been treating him.
As The Boston Globe notes, Settles is an athletic and talented young man that played every sport imaginable.
“This is a happy, healthy, smart, active kid who plays every sport,” said his father, Darryl Settles, a community activist, restaurateur, and developer in Boston. “And for this to happen – you just would never, ever think it a possibility. As least that’s what we thought.”
Preston was rushed from the Brooks School in North Andover to Lawrence General Hospital, where doctors shocked his heart eight times but could not get it to start again on its own. Doctors, a psychiatrist, and a hospital chaplain told the anguished family there was no hope left, and it was time to stop.
“The emergency room physician came back and said, ‘You know, his heart has started back up, and we think we should MedFlight him into Boston,’ “said Owens, who is a primary care physician affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Settles remains in critical condition and has a long way to go, but medical staff says his recovery has been better than expected.
His friends visited the days after the incident, and his parents remain hopeful he overcomes all medical hurdles.
“We definitely want people to continue to pray, pray for him to push him forward,” his mother said. “He is still in a very tenuous state right now. The message is hope. Our message is hope.”
Earlier this week, WLT reported two incidents where high school basketball players collapsed and died while playing the sport.