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Valencia High basketball player said to be doing well after collapse

Posted: September 26, 2013 5:24 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 5:24 p.m.
Chibuzo Ikonte Chibuzo Ikonte
Chibuzo Ikonte

SANTA CLARITA - Chibuzo Ikonte, a sophomore at Valencia High School and a promising member of its varsity basketball team, is doing well today after collapsing in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday, prompting emergency heart defibrillation, school officials said.

“The boy is alive, alert and undergoing evaluation and diagnosis,” said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District. He was reported to be at home with his family Thursday.

Quick-thinking students enrolled in the school’s sports medicine program responded immediately to the emergency — the way they’ve been trained.

Coach Joe Monteleone, who heads the program, credits them for helping save Ikonte’s life.

“I am very proud of them,” Monteleone said Thursday. “They trained for this in the classroom but it’s nice to see it carried out in real life, to see the training come through.”

The 6-foot-4 Ikonte, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, collapsed in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday afternoon during basketball practice.

“The automated external defibrillator was used after chest compressions,” Pinsker told The Signal, noting the school’s defibrillators are kept in boxes mounted on walls at the school.

“When used, which it was in this case, by fast-acting teacher and students, it automatically diagnoses a potentially life-threatening cardiac event,” Pinsker said.

“In this case, that was diagnosed and a shock was given,” she said. “This was done in between chest compressions until paramedics arrived and took over.”

It was about 3 p.m. when Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arrived at the school, treated Ikonte and transported him to a hospital.

Valencia basketball head coach Rocket Collins said Thursday that Ikonte played on the school’s junior varsity team last year and was expected to be on the varsity team this year.

Collins said Ikonte’s “being sidelined” would not affect the varsity team even though the team’s roster has not been officially disclosed.

“He’ll play forward,” the coach said.

Ikonte participated in rigorous basketball practice during the summer, Collins said.

“He’s very quiet, very confident and a great kid,” he said. “He’s always smiling and always says ‘hello, coach’ when I see him and he makes sure he says ‘hi.’”

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