Mom saves teen daughter from heart attack at cheer competition

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 12:42 AM PDT
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HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WRAL) - A 17-year-old cheerleader from North Carolina is recovering in the hospital after she went into cardiac arrest at a competition.

Keianna Joe, a 17-year-old high school student, is a competitive cheerleader on a team in Sanford, North Carolina. While at a competition last Sunday at Raleigh’s Broughton High School, her mother, Andrea Joe, says the teenager was warming up when all of a sudden, she was unresponsive.

“They had just gotten finished with the very first stunt. At that point of the stunt, they come down to where the girls are holding her [Keianna Joe] in a seated position. And when she got to that position, she was unresponsive,” Andrea Joe said.

At first, it was thought Keianna Joe was having a seizure, but a coach soon realized she didn’t have a pulse. The teen’s mother jumped in to help save her daughter’s life, along with other witnesses.

After two sets of chest compressions and breaths, Andrea Joe realized the AED had been brought over. She put the paddles on her daughter. The machine told her an electric shock was needed. She administered the shock and continued CPR until medics arrived.

Keianna Joe was taken to Duke Medical Center for a cardiac MRI, which confirmed the 17-year-old had suffered a heart attack. She remains in the hospital getting treatment, but her mother is just thankful she’s alive.

The family also wants to raise awareness about the AED available at the cheer competition.

“If we can save one life just with the knowledge of how important it is to get that AED and that every facility that has any kind of athletes in there [and] children at all, they need to have one,” Andrea Joe said.

A GoFundMe set up to help the family with medical expenses has raised more than $18,000. According to the fundraising page, Keianna Joe will receive an implantable cardiac defibrillator, which is a device “used to detect and stop arrhythmias by delivering electric shocks as needed.”