Wrestling coach credits treatment for saving his life

Robert Burns thanks rescuers for administering hypothermia treatment

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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - A Deerfield Beach wrestling coach is crediting a rare treatment with saving his life.

In March, Robert Burns, the wrestling coach at Deerfield Beach High School, went into cardiac arrest in front of two of his students. One of them called 911.

When rescuers arrived. they got Burns' heart going again and then immediately began hypothermia treatment, which involves lowering the body's temperature to prevent neurological damage.

"I was very fortunate that I was in the situation I was because if I had been home by myself, none of this would have mattered," Burns, 55, said Monday. "I would be a memory on the wall some place, but, as it is right now, I was fortunate to have shared with these two guys, a couple situations to thank, the people that were responsible, to let me come back so I can teach school and coach some more."

About 39 percent of cardiac arrest patients who undergo hypothermia treatment leave the hospital without any brain or organ damage.

Broward Fire Rescue began using it in 2007.

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