An East Haven teenager is being credited with saving his mother’s life when she went into cardiac arrest while the family was in upstate New York for a wrestling tournament.
“I don’t picture myself as a hero,” 16-year-old Vincenzo “Enzo” Bunce said. “I just I picture myself as someone who just knew what to do and had the training.”
Bunce learned CPR in an East Haven High School health class.
“It’s not a certification, but it’s a way to educate the kids,” head athletic trainer Marc Aceto said.
Aceto teaches students how to perform chest compressions to the tune of the timeless Bee Gees’ song, “Staying Alive.”
“Sometimes, I’m up in the middle of class singing the song out loud, you get a few chuckles,” Aceto said, “but they understand the rhythm of how to get the heart going, to do the compressions on the CPR.”
This past Friday morning Bunce and his family checked into a hotel for a club wrestling tournament in Lake Placid.
“My mother ,she was complaining that her heart was racing and then she sat down for a second then next thing I knew it I looked away for a second she was on the floor,” Bunce said.
Maria Bunce went into cardiac arrest. Bunce’s dad dialed 911.
“I put her on her back so she can breath easier and I started chest compressions,” he said. While humming “Staying Alive” in his head, Bunce put his training to use.
“I was terrified but I was calm at the same time, the training just kicked in and the adrenaline,” he said.
Bunce said he performed chest compressions for about 90 seconds until professional emergency personnel staying in town for a convention arrived. His mother was revived and she checked into a hospital.
“She told my friend’s father to tell me to wrestle my best and not to worry about her,” Bunce said.
Following tough defeats and a forfeit win on Saturday, he saved his best effort for the final of five wrestling matches Sunday afternoon.
“This is my last chance to win a match for my mother,” Bunce said.
It was dominating victory.
“I ended the match in less than 30 seconds,” he said.
“His compassion, his love for the sport, his love for his mother, his family, how strong he is and how mature he is at 16 to be able to do what he did, its unspeakable,” Aceto said.
Bunce said he just hopes more high schools start to offer the same type of training.
“So they can help save their parents’ life, another person’s life,” he said.
Bunce’s mother is still in recovery after being transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Bunce told NBC Connecticut he’s also received CPR training from the East Haven Fire Department explorer program for youth from the town.
With the goal of becoming a firefighter and paramedic, maybe Bunce will help save more lives in the future.
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