'Kids just do good things.' Oak Park teacher who went into cardiac arrest thanks students, staff who saved him

Teacher saved
Posted at 4:27 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 20:55:50-04

OAK PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Thanks to alert staff, proper equipment and two quick-thinking students, an Oak Park teacher is back on the court today.

Students jumped into action when physical education teacher Alfred Kattola went down during a students versus staff basketball game at Oak Park High School.

"I was in the hospital next thing I remember. I'd like to give you a better story than that," Kattola told us.

All Kattola remembers was feeling winded in the hot gym during the game until on the bench at halftime, he went into cardiac arrest.

Students Correy Coleman and Isreal Dubose noticed he wasn't well.

"We were just all sitting watching the game," Coleman said.

"Propped up in a chair. He didn't look well at all," Dubose said. "He was very pale, so I was like, 'I got to get up. I got to go.'”

Both students are in the nursing program at Oakland Schools Technical Campus and with their training, Dubose ran over and gave CPR until staff came back with a nearby AED — all of it saving Kattola's life.

While Oak Park had an AED, not every school does. During the NFL Draft last weekend, Damar Hamlin joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to sign a new bill, requiring just that.

"We know that this policy works," Whitmer said last weekend. "This isn't something we're going to try and hope it works. We know that it does.

And today in Oak Park, proof is on display.

"I know my village is right here," Kattola said, referencing his students, colleagues and the school he works at. "This has been my village."

With a week of Spring Break, Kattola never missed a day in class. If you ask him, he doesn't just belong on the court; he belongs with his kids, who always have his back.

"Everybody knows him, and he's like everybody's favorite teacher," Coleman said.

"That's the beauty of kids, bro. Kids just do good things, but we just notice the bad things," Kattola said. "Oak Park gets some bad publicity sometimes, but I see millions of beautiful things done every day by these kids."

That bill signed into law by Whitmer goes into effect in the 2025 school year.

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