On December 28, 2013, Dan Mannon, from Wilson, WI, was doing what many 17-year-olds would be doing on a winter outing. He had just completed his first snowboarding run at Afton Alps in Hastings, MN, and was heading to the ski lift to take another trip down the slope.
Shane Linehan, a former Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy was spending some time with his daughters at the same resort. Their paths were about to cross in a way no one could have imagined.
As Dan moved to take a spot in the ski lift line he suddenly crumpled and fell, apparently suffering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Shane’s training and years of experience as a deputy kicked in. He immediately began performing CPR. He was quickly joined by ski intructor Kevin Neubauer, while general manager Joe Yasis retrieved the resort’s AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
Together, the three men were able to resuscitate the stricken teenager.
At a reunion news conference on December 31,2013, Dan was able to express his gratitude for the men’s quick actions, their training, and the foresight of the resort to have an AED.
As Dan related in an article in the Star Tribune: “I’m very grateful for Shane, because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here right now. I’m thankful for Joe for having the AED, because that really saved me,” Mannon said, “and I don’t think I can ever express how grateful I am to them.”
Also attending the reunion was Dr Dennis Zhu, an electrophysiologist, who noted that the survival rate for out-of-hospital SCA victims was once about 3%. That number has risen significantly in recent years due to widespread education and the proliferation of AEDs.
Dr Zhu stated in the same article, “Fortunately, with these heroes here, Dan’s life was saved without any major adverse consequences. Brain tissue dies very quickly, in several minutes, without blood supply. Bystander resuscitation is really the key.” According to Dan’s mother, Debbie Mannon, Dan had no history of heart trouble.
For former deputy Linehan, the incident has had a profound effect. He had seen his share of near-death experiences in his years on the job. He had recently retired from the department after being diagnosed with post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD).
He has received several commendations for his actions during his career. He once pulled a man from the frigid St Croix river, and helped capture a man barricaded inside a home who was using his mother as a human shield. Those episodes contributed to the psychological stress of the job, and he just recently had begun to put the pieces of his life back together. The rescue event had even more significance to Shane.
He explained in the Star Tribune article, “This experience actually fits on the plus side. Something happened, and I knew what to do, and I did exactly what I needed to do. It worked out well. Really, really well. So, to me, it’s almost healing.”