17-Year-Old Cheerleader Goes Into Cardiac Arrest, Mom Saves Her Life

By Sarah Tate

March 14, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

A North Carolina teenager competing in a cheerleading competition in Raleigh earlier this month was hospitalized after going into cardiac arrest during a warm-up. Among those who helped save her life is her very own mother.

Keianna Joe, a 17-year-old Harnett County cheerleader, was recently at Broughton High School in Raleigh with her Sanford competitive cheerleading team getting ready for a competition when the day took a turn for the worse, per WRAL. As the team was warming up, Keianna suddenly became "unresponsive" and went into cardiac arrest.

"They had just gotten finished with the very first stunt," her mother, Andrea Joe, said. "At that point of the stunt, they come down to where the girls are holding her in a seated position. When she got to that position, she was unresponsive."

What they first thought was a seizure was made even scarier when they determined she didn't have a pulse. After coaches began doing CPR to resuscitate her, Andrea jumped into action to help save Keianna's life, assisting in chest compressions until an Automatic External Defibrillator could be found and medics arrived.

"I had done two sets of compressions and breaths," she recalled. "I had looked over and toward my left side, and I finally saw that the AED machine had arrived."

Andrea didn't stop at just compressions; she took control of the AED, placing the paddles on her daughter and administering an electric shock as the machine instructed, continuing her CPR efforts until medics could arrive to the scene.

Keianna was hospitalized and continues to recover from the episode, with cardiac MRI results confirming she had a heart attack. A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family cover medical costs, and as of Tuesday (March 14), it has reached nearly $20,000.

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