A team effort from the stands saves a Fisher’s boy’s life

Sergeant Troy Fettinger visits 12-year-old Joel. (Provided Photo/Fishers Police Department)
Sergeant Troy Fettinger visits 12-year-old Joel. (Provided Photo/Fishers Police Department)

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – Coaches preach teamwork and that was evident at a youth basketball game over the weekend. But, in this case, the teamwork came from beyond the bench to save the life of a 12-year old boy who had collapsed on the floor, had no pulse and wasn’t even breathing.

It took a coach, an ER doctor and a patrolling Fishers police officer working together to revive Joel Tsetse. If things hadn’t gone just the way they did, doctors say the young star ball player wouldn’t have made it.

Just minutes into a routine security check, Sergeant Troy Fettinger saw Tsetse drop to the floor at center court.

“And left the stands, went out to check on Joel and that’s when we started working on him and realized we didn’t have a pulse,” Fettinger said.

The recreational league game at Fishers Junior High School had all the right people in the stands and on the bench.

“Oh yea. It was amazing. God was there. God was there for Joel and everybody,” said Tsetse’s coach,Kristen Eiteljorge.

Doctors say Joel went into a lethal heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation. There was only one way to save him. Fettinger was on it.

“It stays right here in the center of the back of my track so it’s very readily accessible,” said Fettinger as he pointed to the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in his patrol car.

While Fettinger raced to his squad car to get his portable defibrillator, an ER doctor gave mouth to mouth while Joel’s coach, trained in CPR, did chest compressions.

“It was really touch and go for a while. Really scary. But, everybody was doing what they needed to do and he’s alive. He’s happy and he’s well,” Eiteljorge said.

All 100 Fishers police patrol cars are equipped with AEDs, which cost $1,200 each. All officers get trained on the equipment and CPR each year.

“For these types of situations in particular, early intervention is absolutely critical,” said Sergeant Tom Weger, Fishers PD public information officer.

Fettinger put that to good use on Saturday.

“Just glad Joel is still here with us and wish him to keep getting better quicker,” Fettinger said.

There’s one regular season game and the tourney left for the Hawks. Joel won’t be hitting the hardwood with his team, but he won’t miss a game.

“But, I have a spot on the bench and he’s going to be my assistant for the rest of the year,” Eiteljorge said.

24-Hour News 8 asked to talk with Joel’s family, but they requested privacy at this time while he recuperates.

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