Life-saving coach survives heart attack: “God puts people together”

Moments after Coach Kurt Mirandette helped save a 16-year-old, he himself was in need of rescuing.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It was the diving portion of qualifying rounds for the state Division 2 swim meet at the Holland Community Aquatic Center last Friday, and Northview High senior Austin Mirandette was getting set for a dive — but something was wrong.

He told his father Kurt Mirandette, who is also his coach.

“He says, ‘Dad, there’s a guy in the bottom. He’s not coming up,’” recalled the elder Mirandette Tuesday.

Kurt Mirandette was one of several people who went into lifesaving mode. One group pulled the victim up from the bottom while others, including Mirandette, waited by the side of the pool.

“There was a guy next to me, we both pulled him out. I was doing mouth-to-mouth while he was in the water, because he was blue,” Mirandette said. “I was doing mouth-to-mouth and the guy next to me was doing chest compressions — two-man CPR.”

Someone else brought an automated external defibrillator, or AED. The shock brought the victim back to life.

Kurt Mirandette was, in a word, drained after the action that likely saved the life of 16-year-old Nolan Gutenschwager of Wyandotte, which is near Detroit. Tuesday, the teen remained in fair condition at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital after being transferred from Holland Hospital Friday.

But after a while, something told Kurt Mirandette that it was not just an adrenaline rush that laid him out.

An EMT who had responded to the first emergency noticed it, too.

“He says, ‘Are you having chest pains?’ I’m like, ‘Oh yeah.’ He says, ‘Let’s check you out.’ He puts some electrodes on me, did a quick thing and yeah, you’re having an anterior wall heart attack,” said Mirandette.

They took Mirandette to the emergency room at Holland Hospital, located just across the parking lot from the aquatic center. It was in the ER that the scare turned to crisis.

“All the sudden everything fuzzed out,” said Mirandette. “Then I saw them again and they said are you still with us? I said, ‘Yeah, I never left.’”

But in a way, he had left. Mirandette’s heart stopped. He was in full cardiac arrest when a shock from a defibrillator brought him back. Four days and two stents later, Mirandette was back home and on the road to recovery.

Mirandette’s convinced the response on Friday, including the fact that everybody who hand in saving Nolan’s life and his own were all in the right place at the right time, was no accident.

It all goes back to the walk he took before Friday’s meet began.

“I walked around the pool, just asking God’s presence to be there, and to keep everybody safe,” said Kurt. “It’s incredible how God puts people together.”

After the patients were taken to the hospital and a brief delay, the meet continued. But just like the swim meet, the story doesn’t end there.

Austin Mirandette had not made his dive before his father’s heart attack. But he knew his dad would want him continue. So he made it.

The dive landed him in the state finals.

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