Pennridge High School senior alive thanks to quick actions by school staff

Bob Brooks Image
ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

The Pennridge High School community gathered to honor those who saved the life of a marching band member who collapsed on the field during practice.

PERKASIE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Pennridge High School community in Perkasie gathered on Monday night to honor school employees who saved the life of a marching band member who collapsed on the field during practice.

Maddie Hoffman stood alongside her parents and her school community lucky to be alive thanks to the heroic actions of those who saved her.

Earlier this year, the senior trombone player for the high school marching band collapsed on the field during practice.

"I don't know. I don't remember any of it," she said.

But Rebe Williams does. She was the first one who noticed.

"Next thing I knew she was at my feet. I bent down and turned her over and called 911," said Williams.

Then the staff on-site sprung into action. Maddie was barely breathing.

Hilary Czaplicki, the assistant marching band director, said, "That's when we made the decision to start CPR and get the equipment out."

Her heart stopped. School officials say she was basically dead on the field, so they grabbed an AED, or automated external defibrillator.

"I called the trainer and got the AED out and she was there immediately," said field hockey coach Beckie Spahr.

"Pretty much my training just took over. Check for breathing, all of that," said Emily Fila, the assistant athletic trainer.

Band director Kevin Feher rode in the ambulance to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and provided the medical staff there with vital information.

"You're just trying to gather as much information as you can, ask as many questions as you can to try and remember as much of the timeline as you can. It's so you can give that information to the parents and doctors and whoever might need that," said Feher.

Hoffman's parents acknowledged Monday the high school staff without question saved Maddie's life.

Dr. Lisa Hoffman, Maddie's mom said, "That each and every one of them stayed there with her, cared for her as if she was their own, that's why she's here with us today."

"She is back home with us a couple of weeks later and only because of the amazing people that were there to support her when she needed that help," added Maddie's father, Dr. Mark Hoffman.

But the heroes say the ceremony Monday wasn't necessary, just seeing Maddie back home is thanks enough.

Maddie says after high school, she wants to help others like her. She's going to college, then plans on medical school to become a doctor.