A devastated mother is demanding answers after her teenage daughter suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during a cheerleading competition.
The shocking incident occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 5.
Healthy 17-year-old Keianna Joe was performing a cheerleading stunt on stage when she unexpectedly dropped to the floor.
Mom Andrea Joe told WRAL-TV that she grabbed an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and shocked her daughter until her heart started again, saving her life.
Andrea explained that when Keianna first collapsed, they thought she was having a seizure.
However, one of the coaches realized that Keianna didn’t have a pulse, and they started performing CPR on her.
Andrea quickly attached the paddles to her daughter, and the machine told her that an electric shock was needed.
She gave the shock and continued performing CPR until the medics arrived.
“They had just gotten finished with the very first stunt,” Andrea told the TV station.
“At that point of the stunt, they come down to where the girls are holding her in a seated position.
“When she got to that position, she was unresponsive.”
Andrea raced to her daughter’s side and quickly took over CPR.
“I had done two sets of compressions and breaths,” she said.
“I had looked over and toward my left side, and I finally saw that the AED machine had arrived.”
Keianna is a student at Western Harnett High School and is part of a competitive cheerleading team that competes in Sanford.
On the day of the competition, she was at Broughton High School in Raleigh when the incident occurred.
Keianna was immediately taken to Wake Med and then transferred to Duke Medical Center for a cardiac MRI.
The MRI confirmed that the teen had suffered a heart attack.
She is currently in the hospital for treatment and is awaiting surgery to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) to pace her heart.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of testing and hospital expenses.
Andrea expressed her gratitude that an AED was available at the competition.
She emphasized the importance of having AEDs in facilities where athletes and children are present.
She hopes that by sharing her daughter’s story, people will understand how crucial it is to have quick access to lifesaving devices like AEDs.
“If we can save one life with the knowledge of how important it is to get the AED,” she said.
“Every facility that has any kind of athletes and children at all, they need to have one.”
Meanwhile, Andrea is still in the dark about why her healthy 17-year-old daughter would suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.
The family says they still don’t know what caused the young girl’s heart to suddenly stop.
Keianna’s aunt, Jennifer Cowan, says doctors speculated to her that “her heart went into arrhythmia from a combination of dehydration, too much caffeine from an energy drink, and exercise.”
READ MORE: Heart Attack Deaths Soaring Among Young Adults, Experts Warn