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12-year-old saves dad’s life using CPR she learned in gym class

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(FRISCO, Texas) — A Texas dad is crediting his 12-year-old daughter and her middle school physical education curriculum for saving his life.

Joe Thomas, 46, of Frisco, about 30 minutes north of Dallas, reportedly fell unconscious on April 9 after doing some yard work at home.

“I just heard this odd gasp and that’s when he was gone,” his wife, Angela Thomas, told ABC News. “I ran back into the bedroom and he wasn’t breathing.”

During the tense and frightening moment, she said she attempted CPR while their daughter, Aerin, called 911.

“I heard her saying, ‘You’re not doing it right,'” Angela Thomas said. “She kind of pitched me out of the way and took over.”

The CPR training that the sixth-grader received about three months ago in P.E. class at Cobb Middle School came in handy — very handy.

“Honestly, I think we would have had a different outcome had it been just me there,” said Angela Thomas, who works as a school teacher. “So, I am grateful.”

“She was incredibly calm. She wasn’t panicking. She wasn’t freaking out,” Thomas added.

Aerin reportedly performed CPR for five minutes until the paramedics came and took over.

“I was hoping it was going to be OK,” Aerin told ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

Paramedics said had it not been for Aerin’s life-saving efforts, her father could have died.

“You are a hero for saving your dad,” an official with the Frisco Fire and Police departments told Aerin during a school ceremony on May 5 to honor her.

Doctors said Joe had a 100 percent blockage of an artery, which came as a surprise since he suffered no discomfort or known symptoms. He is currently in cardiac rehabilitation and is expected to recover fully. The lucky dad is resting at home and going at a slower pace than he is used to, his wife said.

“Never take a day for granted,” Joe Thomas told WFAA-TV.

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