Basketball

School Staff Save Teen during Basketball Game

Posted by cocreator on March 19, 2014
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The quick thinking of two Indian River School District employees saved the life of Immaculate Heart Central School basketball player Jack Valentine.


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“There really wasn’t much panic like that. You see a situation and you react to it because you have the proper training to do so,” said Ashley Naklick, district trainer.

“You just do what you have to do to sustain his life as long as you can until other help arrives,” said Theresa Leeson, district nurse.

On Tuesday, Indian River was hosting Immaculate Heart Central School on the basketball court.

At the end of the first quarter, Leeson noticed something was wrong with one of the IHC players.

“I just saw him do something with his arm and I said, ‘I think he’s having a seizure,'” she said.

When Leeson got to the player, 13 year old Jack Valentine, she realized he was unconscious and he didn’t have a pulse.

She performed CPR and then she administered the Automatic External Defibrillator, also known as an AED.

Later, Naklick also administered CPR while another woman, Brenda Davis, helped administer the breaths.

By the time Valentine left with the ambulance, he had a pulse.

He was in critical condition on Thursday.

“We were just relieved that we were able to get some vital signs back and that he was able to get to the hospital quickly,” said Naklick.

Naklick and Leeson say they’re not heroes, they were just doing what they were trained to do.

But whatever your opinion on the matter is, one thing is for certain – Jack Valentine is alive because of their efforts.

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Spectators Save Man during Basketball Game in School

Posted by cocreator on March 07, 2014
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A life-threatening incident at a local basketball game had a happy ending, thanks to the quick action of two women.


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Debi Mrozowski, a secretary at Rock Hill School, was sitting courtside Feb. 23 keeping score at a Parks and Recreation Department basketball league game when she heard yells coming from another court about an “unresponsive” man.

“You don’t know how you’re going to react until you’re thrown into that situation,” Mrozowski said.

A 38-year-old man playing basketball went down and was unresponsive. Mrozowski started CPR and told Connie Bickford to grab the building’s automated external defibrillator. Bickford, whose husband plays in the basketball league, then helped with CPR.

Mrozowski said she remembered yanking the man’s shirt up and placing the pads on him.

“I was focused on what I was doing,” she said. “We took turns doing CPR until the paramedics and fire department arrived.”

Mrozowski said she used the defibrillator three times, and she thinks the paramedics shocked him another two times. Mrozowski said she was told to keep giving CPR while the fire and paramedic crews set up their equipment. When paramedics took over, Mrozowski said she crawled away.

“It was surreal,” Mrozowski said about the moments after the man was taken away by ambulance. “The one thing I remember is the players were thanking us and hugging us.”

Kevin Ridley, a teammate of the victim, praised the women.

“They really went into action fast,” he said.

Mrozowski said the rest of the day was tough and every time she thought about it, tears came to her eyes.

“I don’t think I fell asleep until 3 a.m. and when I did, I just saw him lying on the ground,” Mrozowski said.

Teammate Kevin Ridley said the man, a Meriden resident, was treated in the hospital intensive care unit.

“I feel thrilled to know I made a difference in someone’s life,” Mrozowski said. “I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time.

Mrozowski and Bickford will be honored at an upcoming Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. The AED machines are in all the schools in town along with the Parks and Recreation.

The campaign to have the AED defibrillator machines came after a similar incident in 2006 when 17-year-old Mike Papale Jr. was playing basketball and an undiagnosed medical condition caused him to collapse. The Papale family became advocates to have the AED machines available in town. Mrozowski said her husband knew the Papale family growing up.

Wallingford Fire Battalion Chief Edward Butkus said the two women did a “heck of a job” and that their efforts could have been the difference between life and death.

“Everyone should be trained on it,” Butkus said about AEDs. “If you get one save out of 100 it still worth doing.”

Butkus said saving lives isn’t like it’s portrayed on television, and the actual percentage of people saved is not that high, but in this case, all the right elements came together.

“It’s what we get paid to do. We are highly trained,” Butkus said. “For a layman to do it, that’s a true hero.”

Butkus said he hopes the incident will encourage people to be trained in using a defibrillator.

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Cop Save Teen dunring Basketball Game

Posted by cocreator on March 05, 2014
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A Fishers police officer saved the life of a 12-year-old boy who collapsed Saturday night during a basketball game.

Troy Fettinger the Saviour Joel Tsetse the Survivor

Troy Fettinger the Saviour Joel Tsetse the Survivor

Sgt. Troy Fettinger was conducting a security check at the Fishers Junior High School when he saw the boy, Joel Tsetse, collapse while playing basketball, according to a press release from the Fishers Police Department. Fettinger immediately called for medics and additional police officers. He then rushed onto the court where he saw that Tsetse was unresponsive and not breathing.

An emergency room doctor from Community Hospital who was at the game came out of the crowd to assist, and CPR was initiated, the release states.

Fettinger, police said, then ran to his squad car and retrieved his automated external defibrillator. He placed the device’s pads on Tsetse, and one shock was delivered.

Tsetse was then taken to IU Health at Saxony Hospital, where his heartbeat returned and he began to breathe on his own.

Tsetse became more responsive, and later in the day he was transported to Riley Hospital for Children, where he continues to recover.

Dr. Gaurav Arora, an IU Health at Saxony emergency room doctor, downloaded and reviewed the information from the defibrillator, police said. The information showed that Tsetse went into a lethal heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation.

The only way the boy would survive was rapid defibrillation, police said.

“Sgt. Fettinger’s actions of quickly retrieving his AED, applying it, and providing a life saving defibrillation shock undoubtedly saved the boy’s life,” Sgt. Tom Weger of the Fishers Police Department said in a news release. “When the boy’s mother arrived at the emergency room, Dr. Arora introduced her to Sgt. Fettinger and stated, ‘This officer saved your child’s life.’ ”

Since the incident, Fettinger has kept in contact with the Tsetse family and visited the boy in the hospital.

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Coach Saves Basketball Player during Game

Posted by cocreator on February 17, 2014
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Elgin Community College sophomore Zach Cooper might have died on the basketball court last week had it not been for the quick response of certified athletic trainer Alicia Mikulski, armed with an automatic external defibrillator.


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Cooper, a Lake Park High School graduate, was enjoying the best season of his basketball career. A returning all-Illinois Skyway Conference and all-region performer for ECC, the 6-foot-5, 192-pound forward was averaging 13.9 points per game, tied for third on his team. His 9.9 rebounds per game ranked 11th in the nation among NJCAA Division II players.

Cooper’s dream to earn a scholarship via basketball and continue his college education was nearing fruition. One NAIA-Division II school was about to offer him a roster spot, he said, and the coach of an Indiana Division II school planned to see him in person later this month.

Zach Cooper the Survivor

Zach Cooper the Survivor

Cooper was feeling particularly spry in the Feb. 4 game at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines. There was bounce in his step that night, according to ECC coach Reed Nosbisch.

The game began like any other. Cooper started his 19th straight contest and played the first six and a half minutes as ECC took a 19-13 lead.

Nosbisch called a timeout and substituted for his second-year player to give him extra rest.

Cooper, who says he has never experienced any major health issues, walked past Nosbisch to get a cup of water and returned to the bench next to freshman Jason Barnhart.

But Cooper began feeling lightheaded as he sat, he said. His cup of water dropped to the floor and he leaned into Barnhart. He was losing consciousness. An artery had been cut off somehow, doctors would later tell Cooper, thus limiting oxygen to his brain. His blood pressure plummeted.

That was when assistant coach Pat Barnhart, sitting next to Jason, noticed something was wrong with the listing Cooper. The coach moved quickly as Cooper lost consciousness, catching him before his head hit the court. Barnhart immediately yelled to get Nosbisch’s attention.

“I heard him scream my name and Pat is not usually like that. He’s a calm guy,” Nosbisch said. “I turned around and I saw the expression on his face. I looked down and he was holding Zach, who was laying in his lap.”

Cooper’s eyes had rolled to the back of his head and his breathing was slowing, according to Nosbisch. ECC’s coach immediately rushed to midcourt and yelled for Mikulski, Oakton’s assistant athletic trainer, contracted through Athletico.

A Brookfield resident who graduated from the University of Illinois eight years ago, Mikulski sensed the urgency in Nosbisch’s voice and sprinted to Cooper’s side. Initially, his breathing was labored as she checked for vital signs.

Then Cooper’s heartbeat and breathing stopped. He had no pulse. He was in cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, Mikulski was as prepared as she possibly could be for the precise scenario unfolding before her. Though she had never been faced with a lifesaving situation in her six years as a certified athletic trainer with Athletico, she had just renewed her certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the automatic external defibrillator (AED) in December.

“It was fresh in my mind,” she said.

Mikulski understood time was of the essence. She asked a police officer standing nearby to retrieve her AED. He returned in just seconds. The reason it didn’t take him long was Mikulski’s attention to preparedness.

Oakton owns several AEDs, the nearest of which to the basketball facility is normally kept in the gymnasium’s storage closet. Rather than risk the closet door might be locked in an emergency situation, Mikulski always places another AED directly under the water cooler on Oakton’s bench. Just in case.

The ECC players were stunned by the surreal scene involving their teammate. Nosbisch kept his players who were on the floor at the time away from the commotion near midcourt. He soon sent everyone from the bench to join them, giving Mikulski room to work on Cooper. Both Oakton coach Mick Reuter and Nosbisch eventually decided to send their teams to their respective locker rooms.

Meanwhile, spectators in the sparse crowd watched the real-life drama from the stands. Included was the ECC women’s basketball team, which had played earlier.

At Nosbisch’s request, ECC women’s coach Jerry McLaughlin briefly left the gym along with Cooper’s girlfriend to inform Cooper’s mother via cellphone what was happening.

Nosbisch said he glanced toward the scorers table at one point and saw a female official from Oakton kneeling on the court, praying for Cooper.

The gym was silent as Mikulski lifted Cooper’s jersey, attached the pads and turned on the AED.

She administered one defibrillation, or shock. She then began CPR, doing 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths, she said.

Cooper’s body bucked and he suddenly regained consciousness. He gulped for air, much to the relief of everyone in the building.

“Just to hear him take that gulp was very relieving,” Mikulski said. “I was extremely relieved and just very, very thankful that the defibrillation had worked, as well as the chest compressions and breaths. I’m very thankful I was there and able to help out. I used the training properly and it had a very good outcome.”

No one was more relieved than Cooper himself, who was soon fully alert. In fact, he was complaining to ECC assistant coach Scott Cork about missing the rest of the game by the time he was loaded into the ambulance.

Cooper didn’t have to worry, though; both teams agreed to halt the game as basketball took a back seat. Oakton’s players hugged the ECC players and wished them well as they left the gym and headed for the hospital to see their teammate.

Cooper said doctors have narrowed the possible causes to two, but more tests are necessary before a firm diagnosis can be reached.

The otherwise healthy 20-year-old has done a lot of deep thinking since his close call.

“When you’re young, my age, you don’t think anything can happen to you,” Cooper said. “You think you’re going to live to 100. You don’t think you could wake up and it could be your last day. You hear that it happens, but you never think it’s going to be you.

“Without that (AED) and without them acting fast, I’d be brain dead. The doctors told me I’d be six feet under the ground right now. The fact they acted fast and revived me quickly saved my life and will let me live a good quality of life regardless if I ever go back and play. I thank everyone who helped, especially (Mikulski).”

Cooper’s promising basketball future is in doubt. He had a defibrillator implanted in his chest to help remedy any future incidents. Of course, implanted defibrillators and sports don’t go well together. One doctor advised him to say goodbye to basketball and take up golf or bowling.

Another doctor offered slight hope he can continue to play, and that’s all the incentive Cooper needs. He said he’ll do his best to make a comeback once he is cleared to resume workouts in June. Associate degree in hand, he’ll see if any four-year college coaches are still interested.

Even if Zach Cooper never plays another minute of competitive basketball, he is a lucky man.

“The way I explain it to people is that it was a tragic moment that didn’t end tragically,” Nosbisch said. “It could have gone a lot worse.”

Though Cooper is now faced with coming up with thousands of dollars to continue his education without a scholarship, he’s keeping the problem in perspective.

“I have to figure out a whole new plan to pay for that, but it is what is,” Cooper said. “Being in debt is OK as long as I’m still alive. My life is the most important thing.

“Hopefully, this brings attention to things like this and people standing by the court will be ready if it happens to someone else.”

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Coach & Doctor Save Teen during Basketball Game

Posted by cocreator on January 30, 2014
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John Roberge knows he was close to losing his son.


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“Friday night we weren’t sure what to expect because he was non-responsive to any commands,” said Roberge. “To think you’re never going to see your son again, it’s the worst feeling ever.”

His son Chris, a sophomore at Lebanon High School in New Hampshire, had just sat on the bench during the second quarter of a basketball game at Hopkinton, N.H.

“He just got done playing, scored four points, was probably excited, sat down, and he passed out on a friend,” said Roberge.

Coaches and parents didn’t skip a beat. Chris was having a heart attack.

Dan Meserve, the athletic director at Hopkinton High, did CPR while a parent who happens to be a surgeon grabbed the emergency defibrillator in the hallway.

“We actually had to shock him twice,” said Meserve.

It was a team effort that would save the 15-year-old’s life.

“Somebody was doing rescue breaths, somebody was on the phone with 911, somebody was cutting his shirt off,” said Meserve.

Chris is now doing well.

He’ll have a defibrillator placed in his chest on Wednesday. He could be back to school next week.

He should be able to resume a normal teenage life, but no contact sports.

“They saved my son,” said his father. “He died and they brought him back to life.

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