While in the Calhoun High School gym assisting at her sister’s basketball game on March 19, senior Zahrah Ibrahim heard her mother calling out for help. Her grandmother was going in and out of consciousness.
Ibrahim recalled the CPR/AED refresher she’d received in her high school physical education class a few weeks prior and began performing life-saving maneuvers.
“At first I almost froze because it was my own grandmother, but then my dad prompted me and I started right up,” Ibrahim said. “I couldn’t feel a pulse, so I kept performing the compressions until the ambulance arrived.”
Her grandmother came to and was transported to a local hospital. She is now home recuperating.
“If it weren’t for the school training, I wouldn’t have been able to save my grandmother,” Ibrahim added.
She first took the course in middle school when it was administered throughout the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. The course is financially funded by Forever 9 - The Robbie Levine Foundation, which was founded in 2005 in memory of 9-year-old Robbie Levine of Merrick, who died of sudden cardiac arrest at his little league practice. The foundation raises awareness of the need for AEDs in youth sports.
While it is a new New York State Education Department mandate that high schools expose their students to AED training and hands-on CPR administration, the district has been implementing this over the past three years.