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Derailed Northwestern junior: ‘This means God has a plan for me’

Adam Riedinger was poised to win a Division II state shot put championship this weekend at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Instead, he’s lucky to be alive.

The Northwestern High School standout junior collapsed while warming up for his final regional discus throw last week at Piqua. His heartbeat had gone out of sync and he was resuscitated by a defibrillator. A cardioverter defibrillator was implanted into his chest a couple days later.

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Until then he was a shot put state favorite (60 feet, 1.25 inches) and a strong contender to win a state discus title, too.

“They got the AID on me, shocked me and brought me back,” he recalled amid well-wishes from competitors during the state shot put on Friday. “If they weren’t there I wouldn’t be here.”

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Adam Riedinger (left), his father Mark and Northwestern coach Brian Stevenson watch the shot put competition during the D-II state track and field meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Friday, June 1, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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The collateral effect was immediate and widespread. Warriors coach Brian Stevenson has tutored Riedinger since seventh grade.

“It was the worst day of my life and it’s changed my perspective on how I coach and how I teach,” he said. “We’re blessed to have him.”

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Stevenson credited Toledo Central Catholic throws coach Angie Knannlein-Rahman for saving Riedinger. The ICU charge nurse at Toledo St. Charles Mercy Hospital, she and another physician’s aide from Cincinnati applied the portable defibrillator and shocked Adam back to life after his color had turned blue.

That was a twist of fate. Knannlein-Rahman had a similar experience when she was a standout thrower in high school.

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“A girl on my team suffered a cardiac arrest and at the time I wasn’t trained,” she said. “I held her in my arms and she didn’t make it. I told my mom, helplessness was the worst thing. She said, maybe you should be a nurse. I wasn’t going to let that happen a second time.”

She didn’t know until Tuesday if Adam had survived. “I think about him constantly,” she said. “Seeing his face (Friday) … it was great to see him.”

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Said Stevenson, “She’s an angel.”

Riedinger hopes to return to track next season. But his football career is done; no more contact sports.

“This means God has a plan for me,” he said. “Whatever it is, I just have to trust in it.”

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• The boys and girls meets concluded for all three divisions on Saturday.

Most of Friday’s running were semifinals with top times advancing to Saturday’s finals. All the D-III field events were contested and half the D-II events. All the D-I field events were scheduled for Saturday.

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• Springfield passed all of its D-I boys qualifying tests on Friday. Senior Quincy Scott advanced in the 100 (10.75) and 200 (21.69) and anchored the finals-qualifying 4x100-meter relay (42.23).

He’s also the defending D-I state runner-up in the long jump and pursued that title on Saturday. Junior teammate Austin Tyree also advanced in the 300 hurdles (38.65).

• Shawnee sophomore Robie Glass was scheduled for a busy Saturday. He advanced in the D-II 200 (22.00) and anchored the Braves 4x400 relay to the finals (3:23.44). He’s also the defending D-II state high jump champ.

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