A high school soccer player who collapsed during a game is recovering and thanking those who rushed to get him help.
Christian Lerma a senior at Jesuit College Prep says he's alive in part because of the quick actions of an athletic trainer who stepped in with a defibrillator.
Lerma was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon after doctors put in a pacemaker. It's too soon to tell when he’ll be back to school, but the 18-year-old star soccer player says he’s feeling stronger every day.
Like a true sports fan, Lerma was on the living room sofa once he got home with his eyes glued on a professional soccer match between Spain and France.
The soccer star recalled the day he collapsed that he felt fine throughout most of the game against rival J.J. Pearce. All of a sudden, he says he felt lightheaded and collapsed.
“There was like five minutes left, and I started feeling dizzy. But then we were down by two goals and there was three minutes left, and we had scored a goal so,” the student said. “I thought I'll just tough it out and finish the game off. With a minute left, I sat down. And after that, I don't remember anything.”
Lerma says the next thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital with his athletic director by his side. He is extremely grateful to the athletic trainer from J.J. Pearce who used an AED to save his life.
Doctors aren’t sure what caused the soccer player to collapse. A surgeon implanted a pacemaker that will monitor his heart rate and record and report any abnormalities to his medical team.
Back at his school, classmates are rooting for him and pray for Lerma every day during morning announcements.
"You always wish the best for him," said classmate Andrew Wright. "So it's really good to hear he's doing well now."
"It's just great to know that one of our brothers is okay and that he starting the process of healing." said classmate Brogan Neagle.
Lerma’s doctor told him he will no longer be able to play competitive sports, coming as a big blow to someone who was expecting to go to college on an athletic scholarship.
Lerma says he’ll have to wait and see what God's plan is for him.