OLATHE, Kan. — One Olathe West baseball player has traded in his uniform for a different kind of uniform that will keep him alive if what happened to him on May 6, 2019, happens again.
Brennan Connell was released from the hospital Saturday. He spent two weeks there after suffering cardiac arrest during a baseball game at Blue Valley Southwest.
It was in the fourth inning of the best game of the sophomore pitcher’s season.
“I was throwing to a batter, two strikes, one ball. And I caught the ball and I was walking back to the mound and all of the sudden everything went kind of black,” Connell said.
With his parents watching, Connell literally dropped dead on the mound. Luckily, there was an AED nearby and people willing to use it.
“The machine said there’s no signal, right, the machine will tell you,” Connell’s dad Brian said after the AED did not detect a pulse from the 16-year-old. “Well, I didn’t believe it.”
While others worked on his body, taking his son’s head in his hands, Brian Connell took care of his soul.
“I am a believer that the soul and the heart hears what the mind might not,” the elder Connell said. “And so I was talking to him, I was like we are right here you are fine, we are going to take care of you, don’t be scared.”
It took one shock of the AED to bring Brennan Connell back to life.
“I didn’t plan on dying. I just knew that I was going to keep on fighting,” Connell said.
Kristin Connell said it is hit or miss whether there is an AED on the ballfields where her son plays. She is paying her family’s blessing forward by raising awareness for easily accessible AED”s at every sporting event.
“If there was not an AED at Blue Valley Southwest that day, we would still be telling a story, it would just be a story with not such a happy ending for us,” Kristin Connell said.
It has been a long road to get to that happen ending and it is not over yet. It took a week for doctors to stabilize Connell’s heart and they still doesn’t know what caused it to stop.
“I just have to make the most of my second chance and not regret anything,” Connell said.
He plans on someday being on the mound again. The same way he is fighting for his life, Connell said he will fight to make his big league baseball dreams come true.