Man awakes from 8-day coma after school principal helps save him with CPR

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A 70-year-old metro man is awake after spending eight days in a coma. He credits a local school principal for helping save his life.

He was picking his 12-year-old son up from school for a doctor's appointment, when all of a sudden, he collapsed in the parking lot.

"I went to school, the last thing I remember, I got out of my car and I guess I fell down," said John Williams, who woke up from the coma on Wednesday.

"When I woke up I go, 'what day is it?' and they said I've been eight days in a coma, and I go, 'are you kidding me!?'" Williams recalled.

Another one of his sons, David, took a video of him opening his eyes for the first time.

"We really didn't know what to expect. We were just told to pray and hope for the best," David said. "Our biggest fear was when he wakes up, is he going to know who everybody is, and things like that."

It was Monday, August 18, when John went to Turner Sixth Grade Academy. The school principal, Miranda Hoit, was in the nurse's office when her secretary ran in and told her they needed help in the parking lot.

"I just took off running!" Hoit exclaimed.

She saw a man laying on the ground and said he was unresponsive, so she started performing CPR, while someone called 911.

"There's just so many things that are going through your mind," Hoit added.

John's doctor said he has a history of having a weak and damaged heart.

"He's prone to develop arrhythmia, heart rhythm disturbances," said Dr. Hector Rodriguez, a cardiologist at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

He says if they had waited to perform CPR, his brain would probably have been severely damaged.

"If they had not done CPR, he would not be here today," Rodriguez added.

"I was someone that could help, and I also know that there was a team of people that helped, and I have a lot of admiration for first responders unlike I ever did before," said Hoit.

Thanks to her, John is awake, talking, functioning... and cracking jokes!

"I missed eight days, man!" said John. "I feel pretty good, I was thinking about buying her something."

Mr. Williams is recovering, and Principal Hoit says she's thankful she knew CPR, and encourages everyone to learn too, because you never know when it can come in handy.

Dr. Rodriguez says Williams will need other tests done and will have an implantable defibrillator put in -- but he's doing just fine.