Westbrook High’s athletic trainer Anita Dixon was sitting with her four college interns, watching the waning minutes of the first half of the girls junior varsity contest between the Blue Blazes and the Falmouth Yachtsmen, when she was pressed into action.
View First Aid Corps World Map of AED Locations in a larger map
“A couple of them had made a comment that that guy, he doesn’t look very good,” stated Dixon. “Needless to say he collapsed later on.”
He was Larry Moreau, a longtime official of local sporting events ranging from basketball to soccer to softball, who apparently suffered a heart attack while working the game.
“We were behind the girls basketball bench and all of a sudden we heard a thud, and it was him that had hit the floor,” she recalled.
Dixon and her students rushed to Moreau’s side and assessed the situation.
“When we did first get to him he was unconscious, but he was breathing and had very weak pulse,” she explained. “Later on, he ended up not breathing, and we had to use the AED to shock him to get his heart back in rhythm.”
The automated external defibrillator, or AED, saved Moreau’s life. An ambulance crew arrived soon there after and transported him to Maine Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery and is in satisfactory condition.
“My training staff did a wonderful job,” said first year Westbrook athletic director, Marc Sawyer. “It was as organized and precise as a tough situation can be.”
“I think it is important that we recognize that technology and expertise really saved the day yesterday,” he added. “I don’t think there is any question, without the AED last night, we might be having a little bit different conversation here today.”
Anita Dixon says she is not a hero for saving Moreau’s life.
“I am grateful that he is still here and it doesn’t matter what I did,” she said. “It is just that the guy is in stable condition and that we did what we needed to do in order for him to still be here.”
Sawyer met with student athletes from both schools to talk with them about the traumatic situation, and says they have already begun having discussions about planning a fundraiser to raise money to buy AED’s and generate awareness about the life-saving devices.