Principal Helped Save Mater Lakes Academy Athlete's Life With CPR

By Diana Gonzalez
|  Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013  |  Updated 10:41 PM EDT
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Rarely does a 15-year-old embrace his high school principal. But Rene Rovirosa helped save Devon Octave's life – and the Mater Lakes Academy wrestler showed his gratitude Wednesday. NBC 6's Diana Gonzalez reports.

Rarely does a 15-year-old embrace his high school principal. But Rene Rovirosa helped save Devon Octave's life – and the Mater Lakes Academy wrestler showed his gratitude Wednesday. NBC 6's Diana Gonzalez reports.

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Rarely does a 15-year-old embrace his high school principal. But Rene Rovirosa helped save Devon Octave's life – and the Mater Lakes Academy wrestler showed his gratitude Wednesday.

Octave went into cardiac arrest on Halloween.

His case proves, yet again, that timing is everything.

"I just received CPR class 6 days before," said Rovirosa.

On Wednesday Octave was released from Miami Children's Hospital and said he doesn’t really remember anything.

His principal said he gave the teen athlete mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions. After several attempts, Octave was not responding.

"You gave me a breath that I thought for sure that he was gone. I said 'Don’t you do that Devon. Don't you leave now.’ I remember saying that," said Rovirosa.

Paramedics arrived just in time to shock Octave's heart into rhythm.

"I don't know what to say because it's like a miracle, yeah," said the timid teen at a news conference Wednesday.

His tearful mother was overcome with gratitude for the principal, paramedics and hospital staff.

"I just want to thank everybody. The doctors, the nurses, everyone for helping him, for saving his life," said Johanne Benjamin.

At Miami Children's Hospital Octave had heart surgery for a condition that's the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It's called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

"Devon is a living miracle. He was dead for seven minutes. This was 100 percent preventable. One hundred percent. His EKG is incredibly abnormal," said Dr. Anthony Rossi, the director of cardiac intensive care.

Miami Children's has been offering free EKGs for student athletes for more than two years. While the hospital has a screening program with public schools, that doesn't include charter schools. So Octave never had an EKG until after his heart failed.

Now he has an implanted defibrillator to prevent another cardiac arrest.

Florida State Sen. Rene Garcia has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would require EKGs for all student-athletes before they play.

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