Coach, Fort Myers firefighters save teen’s life after heart attack


A 14-year-old boy shared his story of gratitude after his running coach and firefighters saved his life two days before Christmas.

Zachary Syska was running with his friends near McGregor Boulevard when he suffered from a heart attack.

“I went to sit down by a tree and I don’t remember anything after that,” Syska said.

Tyler Stowell, the youth running club coach for students in 4th grade through 8th grade, immediately started CPR as Syska’s friends called for help.

“I started giving him CPR because he didn’t have a pulse,” Stowell said. “It’s unreal because he was lifeless so fast.”

Fort Myers firefighters were able to shock the 8th grader back to life.

“It’s never a good thing seeing someone that young, so it was tough. But just practice and training, we were ready for it,” firefighter Joey Shogren said.

Syska’s mother, Stephanie Syska, says doctors are still running tests to figure out why the teen went into sudden cardio arrest. For now, Syska will wear a heart monitor.

“This team saved my son’s life and you know. There’s no words … the gratitude is just … there’s just no words,” Stephanie said.

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