It was just a normal Tuesday afternoon at Marlboro High School for Mark Bramble, the licensed athletic trainer for the Mustangs. He was preparing like any other afternoon for the days games, on this day it was Varsity and JV Girls’ Basketball against Middletown High School. He had prepared the gym, evaluated and treated many injuries and had prepared his athletes for competition using the many injury prevention techniques he is trained to do. Saving somebody’s life certainly wasn’t on his mind.
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But when a specatator suffered a cardiac episode in the stands at the basketball game, Mark put his years of training and education into action and turned a regular day into an unforgettable one. . “The first words out of everyone in the gym was, “Get the Athletic Trainer”. Said Dave Ryden, Athletic Director at Marlboro High School. “Within seconds of hearing that call, my Athletic Trainer, Mark Bramble responded to the scene, had 911 called and retrieved the AED. Mark, a nurse (that happened to be in the gym watching her daughter play), and I proceeded to perform CPR on this gentlemen until the paramedics arrived. Words cannot express enough the importance of having trained healthcare personnel as part of my athletic staff. Mark’s importance to the safety and well-being of the student-athletes and spectators is immeasurable, and he is irreplaceable.”
The nurse, was the first to respond to the injured spectator, she checked for a pulse, there was none present. She yelled for help and began CPR. Mark sprang into action by alerting Marlboro Athletic Director, Dave Ryden, and retrieving the school’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Once at the victim, Mark placed the AED on him and assisted with CPR. The AED recommended a shock and it was delivered. CPR was continued for 15-20 minutes and 2 additional shocks were delivered before the victim’s pulse returned and the EMTs began caring for the spectator. The victim was taken by EMT and pararmedics to a local hospital The Varsity game was suspended and the JV game was cancelled due to the event.
When asked about the situation Mark Bramble said, “Having an AED and an Emergency Action Plan in place is vital in protecting our student athletes as well as those who attend interscholastic athletic competitions. Every school should have an athletic trainer as the point person for implementing these emergency action plans and making sure the AED is accessible and in working condition on a daily basis. This incident was obviously a team effort, and the success was directly due to the training of all involved and having a plan in place.”
Mark Bramble, the school’s Athletic Trainer, has been certified as an Athletic Trainer since 1986. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey. This school year marks his 25th at Marlboro High School. Mark and his family reside in Allentown NJ