Plant High student thanks those who helped save his life after collapsing on track

Nearby AED in concession stand was instrumental

TAMPA, Fla. - Many students aren't excited for class first thing in the morning, but Thursday morning Charlie Curtis stepped happily onto Plant High School's campus.  

The freshman is not only happy to be at school, he's lucky to be alive. Last week he was running a timed mile in P.E. class when he fell to the ground in the second of four laps.

"I don't remember running around the track. But I remember when they were doing CPR. I felt like I was floating above everyone. I felt no emotion, but I knew the situation was going on," he said.

Curtis had suffered a heart attack.  

"This area right here is where Charlie was laying when I came around the backside of the concession stand," said P.E. teacher Carrie Mahon as she pointed to the area on the track where Charlie collapsed.

Just feet away in the concession stand was a portable defibrillator.

Quick thinking by the teacher, school nurse and others kept him alive.

Thursday there were hugs of thanks and gratitude to last a lifetime.

"We weren't witness to the events that happened. We're so fortunate that the team here knew what to do and did it," said Lisa Curtis, his mother.

Although the team of people that helped save his life will forever be part of the Curtis family, Charlie himself played a vital role in his own survival.

"The look in his eyes and the way that he fought for every single breath that he took, this is about Charlie Curtis and just his fight to live," Mahon said.

"I was just really happy that I happened to collapse five feet from the AED and that coach Mahon and all the other people from Plant were trained enough to save me," Curtis said as he smiled before going back to class.

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