She remembers being lethargic that day, three years ago.
But, Jordan Peak wasn’t the type to not show. Basketball was her passion. So, when she asked her coach if she could sit out, it was unusual.
Then came the call that neither Charity or David Peak, her parents, expected: Jordan had collapsed.
“She [her coach] couldn't explain much more, other than we needed to leave right away and come down to the gym,” remembers Charity. She tried thinking of what it could be. “She must be dehydrated, maybe she passed out, maybe she didn't eat enough before practice.”
The situation quickly became dire.
"The paramedics called and said, 'You might not make it.'"
Frantic, Charity and David raced to the hospital.
"Instead of going into an emergency room, we were intercepted by a chaplain,” explains David.
They learned Jordan’s heart went into cardiac arrest. There was no indication, no warning. How could this happen to their child, who thrived off sports?
Someone did perform CPR on the 12-year-old at the community center, where Jordan went into cardiac arrest, but there was no Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, in the building.
By law, AEDs are not required to be in public schools, community centers, or gyms in Colorado, despite dozens of other states that do make that requirement.
It meant Jordan went nine minutes without oxygen.
Doctors knew her life was fragile: every minute that a person goes without oxygen, survival decreases by seven- to ten-percent. When she arrived at the hospital, there was no brain activity.
Jordan – the bubbly, confident, athletic girl – was slipping away.
“We went from, ‘Is she going to make it?’ To, ‘Is she going to be brain dead?’” The memory is still fresh for Jordan’s parents.
Five days of silence – a medically-induced coma – followed, plus 15 days in the Intensive Care Unit.
“I thought it was a dream,” recalls Jordan. "I remember asking, ‘Where am I?’ and I asked it thirteen times, because I couldn't remember the words Denver or Boulder.”
It wasn’t just vocabulary Jordan struggled to regain: she couldn’t remember how to eat, breathe, or walk. Her emotional responses also suffered.
"The biggest indication was that she didn't smile or laugh,” says Charity. “She had no affect. So, she knew she was supposed to smile, like when people came in her room, but you know, it was very artificial."
But like any athlete, Jordan persisted.
Simple tasks gradually returned, along with her personality. Amazingly, she finished the semester with straight A’s.
Jordan’s doctors suspect she has CPVT, or Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia, a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat. It cannot be detected by EKG, but only through a genetic blood block test.
It’s even more reason the Peaks are adamant that AEGs be in public places, and outdoors during sporting events.
"It’s euphoric to have her back. I mean, just a gift. We knew that we dodged a bullet, big time. Only the grace of God that she's here," says David Peak.