SOFTBALL SAVE: Wrestling coach collapses during game

SOFTBALL SAVE: Wrestling coach collapses during game

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BUFFALO, Minn. (KMSP) -

A simple softball game turned into a life-and-death situation for a high school wrestling coach who collapsed, but as it happened, police, EMTs and a highly-skilled doctor were right there on the field.

Jason Maurer's parents are convinced that without the overwhelmingly urgent response, their son would be dead. Fortunately for him and his family, there was an anesthesiologist on the opposing team -- and teams of police and emergency responders -- playing softball nearby.

On Sunday afternoon, 12-year-old girls were fighting for a tournament title at Buffalo's softball complex -- but what happened during Thursday night's men's recreation league drove the score straight out of the minds of the players.

"When I see him start turning purple, I got out of there," Randy Maurer, Jason's father, told Fox 9 News. "Knew something was very wrong."

Randy Maurer watched in horror as his 34-year-old son crumpled inside the first-base dugout.

"You could tell me something was obviously wrong," Dr. Dave Prybilla, an anesthesiologist with Allina Hospital, recalled. "He was not responding, not breathing well."

Jason Maurer, a special education teacher and head coach of the varsity wrestling team at Buffalo High School, was in full cardiac arrest, meaning he had no pulse. Luckily for him, Prybilla was on the opposing team and knew just what to do.

"Flipped him over on his back -- kind of holding the airway to help him breathe and people started CPR, chest compressions," Prybilla said.

Yet, at that moment, Prybilla wasn't the only trained professional out playing. In fact, on the next field over, there were two teams of police officers, firefighters and EMTs who rushed over to help.

Like the game of softball itself, the task of saving a man's life was a team endeavor. One of the officers had an automated external defibrillator (AED) and shocked Maurer's chest a couple of times, bringing him back.

Jason Maurer was rushed to a Buffalo hospital before he was transferred to the University of Minnesota and placed in a medically-induced coma. His body temperature was cooled to protect his brain.

"We just pray that he will slowly come to and recover," Linda Maurer, Jason's mother, said. "No brain damage and get our Jason back."

On Sunday, doctors were weaning him from his medications in an effort to wake him up and get a better sense of the potential damage.

"Now is when it gets hard," Randy Maurer said. "Before, we knew he was in a coma, so we knew he couldn't do anything. Now, come on. Let's go. Wake up."

The Maurers and all of Jason's friends and loved ones told Fox 9 News they are grateful for the heroic actions of so many as they pray for a speedy recovery.

"It's overwhelming," Linda Maurer admitted. "Totally hard to imagine that he knows that many people."

While it's still early, Jason Maurer is showing signs of improvement at the hospital. Now, his father wanted to point out that there is an AED mounted on the inside of the Buffalo complex's concession stand, but no one knew that on Thursday. Instead, the AED came from a squad car. Now, he's asking that signs be put up to make sure visitors know where to find life-saving equipment.

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