16-Year-Old Woodlands High School Volleyball Player Who Suffered Cardiac Arrest Reunites with Paramedics Who Saved Her Life

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Julieta Valdes speaking at SAVE Reunion.

In May of 2020, 16-year-old Julieta Valdes was working out with her sister when she suddenly collapsed. Valdes, a volleyball player at The Woodlands High School, had suffered cardiac arrest. Now almost five months later, Valdes has made a miraculous recovery.

Julieta Valdes speaking at SAVE Reunion.

Valdes got to meet with the emergency crews who saved her life, as a reunion took place at The Woodlands Central Fire Station the afternoon of September 15.

Tyler Grisham, In-Charge Paramedic for the Montgomery County Hospital District, was one of the emergency crew members who responded that day.

Julieta Valdes handing Tyler Grisham his award.

“We were on the ambulance, and we were stationed with Engine 105 with the Woodlands Fire Department. “We both arrived on scene at the same time, said Grisham. They had already been giving CPR instructions; we found her to have a very weak pulse, said Grisham. We started rendering aid; she lost her pulse. We started CPR and then delivered some shocks because she was in a non-perfusing lethal arrhythmia. “We did get her heartbeat back. Once we did that, we secured her airway, started breathing for her, started supporting her blood pressure and her heart rate. “We monitored throughout, and she did well. We then delivered her to Texas Children’s Hospital, and that’s when we transitioned care to the doctors and nurses at TCH.”

Julieta Valdes spoke to the emergency crews who saved her life on May 3rd.

Julieta Valdes speaking at SAVE Reunion.

“Before we met on the night of May 3rd, I was a freshman at The Woodlands High School and participated in school and club volleyball. That day was a typical quarantine day for me. I did school work, took my dog out on a walk, went on a run myself and even went to pick up some supplies from Home Depot,” Valdes told the emergency crews who saved her life. At around ten p.m., my sister and I started our workout upstairs, somewhat unusual for us to start a workout so early in the night (haha). “But never once throughout my day did I imagine that day could have been my last. “What happened that night during our workout is something I won’t go into detail since you all know it a lot better than I do.”

Julieta Valdes with Scott McCully.

Valdes added that she has always taken graduating from high school, going to college, having a family of her own and so many other things as a given.

“While I know I am mortal, more now than ever before, I never thought about my time coming so early. I now get to make it to the ripe age of 17, and that is all because of you,” said Valdes. I cannot thank you enough for what you all did for me, for never giving up on me and working tirelessly to get a pulse on me. I am so thankful that we are all here today so that I can properly thank you for your work, not just because of what you have done for me, but because of what you have done for the world. “I am honored to be a living testament of the impact people who work in this field have on people’s lives.”

Valdes also said that she has now become a student ambassador for the American Heart Association.

Julieta Valdes with Joseph O’Neill.
Julieta Valdes with all of the emergency crews who saved her life.

“I have also stared my own organization, called Surviving SCA (sudden cardiac arrest). I hope to educate more people about sudden cardiac arrest, teach them more about the importance of the life-saving procedures that bystanders should always perform, and create a community of the small percentage of people who suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest, and make it out on the other side,” said Valdes.

Here are more pictures from the SAVE reunion:

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