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Oswego Teen Saves Man's Life with Quick-Thinking CPR

Feb 03, 2015 10:43PM ● By Steven Jack

OHS junior Ariana Castillo said she never thought she'd have to use the CPR she learned in her sophomore gym class. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Castillo)


Rarely has the phrase “in the right place at the right time” meant so much.

But that was just the case for 16-year-old Oswego High School junior Ariana Castillo on the evening of Jan. 11 at an Oswego Outlaw softball practice. That was the night the Outlaw's outfielder saved a man’s life. 

Ariana and her teammates were just beginning a regular Sunday practice at the team’s Aurora indoor facility they share with an Aurora 14U baseball team when from across the warehouse she said she heard a loud crash.

“We had just finished our throwing warmups and were going to start doing drills,” Ariana said. “I suddenly heard a big sound of something crash and turned around and across the warehouse one of the baseball coaches was on the ground with a screen (netting shield) on top of him and his other assistant coaches helping get it off. Then they started slapping his face gently, screaming his name and instantly I right away knew something was wrong.”

That’s when Ariana sprung to action. Outlaws Coach Lee James said Ariana ran toward the fallen coach, who as it turns out is also from Oswego, to see if he was OK, or if she could help. Seeing that the man’s son was distressed over watching his father fall ill, Ariana said she ran to comfort the boy. 

When her teammates arrived to also lend support, Ariana said she returned to the man. 

“I asked the coaches if there was anything I could do and what I should do,” Ariana said. “One of the assistant baseball coaches, told me to go in his car and grab a (first responder) bag, so I did. Then as I came inside it kind of just clicked that I knew CPR and was certified. I practically screamed out "I know CPR! I know CPR! Do you want me to do it!?”

After confirming that the man had no pulse, Ariana completed two sets of 30 chest compressions and cleared fluid from the man’s air passage before Aurora paramedics arrived and shocked the man’s heart and put him on oxygen. 

“Ariana is an amazing young woman,” Coach James said. “She showed no hesitation. This was one of those life-defining moments.”

According to Ariana’s mom, Wendy Castillo, the man suffered a massive heart attack that night and was in a coma for several days after the incident. He is still recovering, but has made major improvements, she said. 

Ariana said she wouldn’t have been able to perform CPR if it not for her training and certification at school.

“I was told that one of the paramedics and his doctor said that it was the CPR that saved his life,” Ariana said “Hearing that was probably one of the greatest things ever. In that moment I knew I had truly helped save someone. I'm honestly so grateful to have taken sophomore gym at OHS because Mrs. Ziefert was the one who taught me how to preform CPR when I took that class.”