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Three honored for saving the life of OCU athlete

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Trish Bennett, Editor



Pictured with the OCU girls soccer team are (front row, from left) Tyler Payne, OCU security chief; Jake Warren, soccer coach; Adam Swingle, assistant coach; Katelynn Ising; Deputy Justin Schleich; and Captain Arron Kerns, Circleville Fire Department. (Photos by Trish Bennett)

Katelynn Ising (left) presents one of two awards to Tyler Payne.

Deputy Justin Schleich was honored for saving a life on Thursday. He is pictured with Mayor Don McIlroy (left) and Sheriff Robert Radcliff.

CIRCLEVILLE – On Aug. 25, Katelynn Ising nearly died on the soccer field at Ohio Christian University. On Thursday, she returned to OCU to help honor three people credited with saving her life.

Ising, 21, of Groveport, suffers from Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia, a condition she knew nothing about until it nearly claimed her life at soccer practice. Her heart stopped beating, and Pickaway County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Schleich, OCU security chief Tyler Payne and Berger athletic trainer Nicole Lewis immediately administered CPR, which kept her alive until rescue crews could arrive on the scene.

Schleich, Payne and Lewis were honored with lifesaver awards on Thursday from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office and the Circleville Fire Department. The ceremony was held in the gymnasium at OCU with an audience of students and Ising’s soccer teammates.

Assistant soccer coach Adam Swingle also was recognized for his response during the incident.

Dr. Mark Smith, OCU president, said he remembered the day vividly; he was cheering on the volleyball team playing in the gymnasium when someone rushed in to tell him, “We have a student down.”

Smith said he bolted to the soccer field to find Thursday’s three honorees hard at work on Ising.

“I saw CPR being performed, and I knew we had a crisis,” Smith said.

He said he remembers the tears and prayers upon seeing her gray, ashen body on the field, and he remembers the first time she took a breath.

“The things that were done that day are so important to save a life,” he said. “We had the right people there at the right time. That day, I saw a little girl who was dead, and today we celebrate a life.”

Sheriff Robert Radcliff said he appreciated the support of the OCU community and thanked the staff for allowing them to recognize the lifesaving efforts of his deputy and the members of the athletic staff who stepped in when minutes mattered most.

Chief Marc Zingarelli, Circleville Fire Department, took the opportunity to urge everyone in attendance to learn CPR, because time and two hands, he said, can literally save a life.

CPR classes can be scheduled online through the American Red Cross.

Rescue crews worked on Ising about 40 minutes on Aug. 25 before she was airlifted to a Columbus hospital for treatment. She said she lost her memory for about a week and woke up in the hospital.

Since the incident, she has been fitted with an automatic defibrillator, and she has returned to her studies online.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal