Police Officer Recounts Performing CPR on La Verne Football Player Who Collapsed

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A day after a La Verne high school football player collapsed during practice, a police officer who happened to be at the scene recounted his efforts to help save the teen.

The boy, a junior, was at an early morning conditioning session Monday when he collapsed, according to a statement from Damien High School that did not identify the teen.

Monterey Park Police Department Officer Danny Salazar was off duty and walking the track at the school when the boy collapsed. Coaches were gathered around the boy as he lay on the ground, Salazar said Tuesday.

"I made my way closer to them and I realized he wasn't breathing," Salazar said. "It looked pretty urgent."

Salazar helped the coaches and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

"It always touches home when there's a child. I knew he needed immediate help," Salazar said. "Thank God I was in the right place at the right time."

Officer Danny Salazar on June 2, 2015, describes helping a football player who collapsed during practice. (Credit: KTLA)

Officer Danny Salazar on June 2, 2015, describes helping a football player who collapsed during practice. (Credit: KTLA)

The boy was taken to a cardiac unit, according to the school, which asked for privacy for the family.

Friends identified the player as a 16-year-old named Xavier. He was being treated at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

“We offer our prayers for our student and his family so that he may have a full recovery,” the school’s statement read.

The team was back at practice Tuesday morning, video from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune showed. Salazar said he believed Monday marked the first day of summer-season training for the football team.

It was cool and overcast when the teen collapsed, the officer said.

Two recent graduates were at campus Tuesday, showing support for their former team.

"It's a brotherhood. So, no matter what, when we have a fallen Spartan, we're always there," Damien High graduate Tony Santilli said. "We're a big community."

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