Shane Strong: West Allegheny rallies behind football player who collapsed during training

Shane Strong: West Allegheny rallies behind football player who collapsed during training

April 3 was the day everything changed for the McArdle Family. Their 17-year-old son Shane Kennedy, a football player at West Allegheny, went outside to run sprints. Minutes later, he collapsed.

“My son was on the ground,” Mark McArdle said. “He wasn’t breathing, he was blue. I just wanted to do anything I could just to get him back. I didn’t even think. Honestly I just kept yelling, ‘Breathe buddy, come on breathe, breathe, breathe.’”

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The teenager was in cardiac arrest. McArdle and two neighbors performed CPR and then Shane was rushed to the hospital. He was eventually taken to Children’s Hospital where he spent over a week in the ICU.

“The longest eight days of my entire life,” his mom, Deanna McArdle, said.

Shane suffered brain damage, and currently is experiencing some loss of vision. Doctors told Shane he wouldn’t be able to play football again, but he has other plans.

“He goes, ‘I’m young, my brain’s gonna be good, I’m gonna come back 100%,’” his step-dad said with a grin.

“I’m just ready to be able to start seeing fully and hopefully get back on the football field whether it’s coaching or doing something,” Shane said.

On Tuesday, he passed a physical test with flying colors, and was able to go home.

“He passed his test so well,” his mom said. “He’s a fighter.”

“That’s why when they came in to do that test I was ready,” Shane said. “I wanted to come home and just chill.”

He went home to an outpouring of support from family, teammates and neighbors. They put up signs reading #ShaneStrong, donated gift cards and reached out when a family needed them the most.

“'Do you need help with this? How can we help? How is Shane? How is Deanna? How are you? How’s your daughter?' Thank you. Thank you for being there and for supporting him," Shane’s step-dad said when explaining how the community was reaching out.

“Thank you to my neighbors who saved my son’s life,” Shane’s mom said.

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