Football

Teammates & Bystanders Save Elderly Man during Football Game

Posted by cocreator on May 26, 2014
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Michael Darlington 60, of Miranda, counts his blessings each day. He suffered cardiac arrest as he played touch football at Old Bush Road Oval, Yarrawarrah, last May 8.

With medical help minutes away, it was up to his teammates and bystanders to keep him alive.

Mr Darlington’s team had just scored a try moments into the second half when the father-of-three collapsed on the field.

“We got back on the field in the second half and I don’t remember anything about it,” he said.

Brett Thatcher, of Engadine, who was playing in Mr Darlington’s team, was the first person to see he was in trouble.

“I thought he’d fallen over and bumped his head,” Mr Thatcher said. “He had shallow breathing but was still conscious.”

In seconds the situation changed and Mr Darlington lost consciousness.

Mr Thatcher began mouth-to-mouth and Matthew Wallis, of Kirrawee, started compressions. They worked tirelessly for six minutes as Peter Ciccia, of Kirrawee, spoke to emergency services through triple-0.

“We got him back twice, so we knew it was working,” Mr Thatcher said.

Across the oval, Matt Alewood and Matt Henson were playing in another game when they saw the commotion.

Both trained in CPR, they took over giving Mr Darlington another seven minutes of resuscitation and chest compressions.

“Mike’s colour started coming back,” Mr Henson said.

When David Stride and Scott McNamara arrived in the ambulance they knew the chances of Mr Darlington surviving were slim.

“I saw the boys doing CPR at the back of the oval and I just told them to keep going,” Mr McNamara said.

“The odds are always against you when someone goes into cardiac arrest but good CPR buys us time and saves lives.”

Mr Darlington had to be shocked with a defibrillator before his heart rhythm returned. He was taken to Sutherland Hospital and had surgery to remove an artery blockage.

After five weeks off work and months of rehabilitation Mr Darlington has made a remarkable recovery. “It was a life-changing event,” he said. “I can’t thank the boys and the paramedics enough.”

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Spectators Save Teen Player during Game

Posted by cocreator on December 02, 2013
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Chris Warner, the athletic trainer at Hawthorne High School, had been carrying the AED, which weighs about 6 pounds, ever since he went to then athletic director Barry Cohen and told him the school needed one.


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“It cost about $2,200,” Warner said. “I think the booster club bought it for us.”

And it went unused for nine years.

Until the night of Oct. 17 when Hawthorne hosted Glen Rock in a key game in the race for the NJIC Colonial Division title.

Jake McMahon the Survivor

Jake McMahon the Survivor

Midway through the game, McMahon told coach Paul Cusack that he wasn’t feeling well and Cusack told him to “take a knee.”

Instead, McMahon collapsed to the field.

“As a spectator, you’re watching the flight of the ball,” Pete McMahon said.

“I didn’t see him go down.”

But as soon as he realized his son was on ground, he jumped a fence to run in from the sideline as Debra ran down from the stands and Warner drove over in his equipment-laden golf cart.

“Obviously, it was a very chaotic scene,” said Warner, a trainer at Hawthorne for 15 years.

“He was unresponsive. It’s something you’re trained for but you never know how you’re going to react.”

With the help of three off-duty nurses who came down from the stands and police officers who responded almost immediately, Warner had McMahon hooked up to the AED, a device that monitors a patient’s heart and prompts the user to administer a lifesaving shock if needed.

McMahon was shocked three times while lying on the field that night.

“I was in shock,” said Debra McMahon, who was standing right there with her husband watching. “This is your son. You don’t want to take your eyes off him.”

“It’s not something you want to see, especially when you’re talking about a kid who is physically in great shape,” Warner said. “It makes it harder. The moment that voice told me that a shock was advised is a moment I will never forget.”

McMahon’s pulse returned after the third shock and he was stabilized and transported with an escort by the Hawthorne police to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.

“They iced him down in the ambulance on the way to the hospital which they said was a new protocol when this happens in young people,” said Pete McMahon, who rode in the ambulance with his son.

“He fought everything they wanted to do.”

Pete McMahon felt better that his son had some fight in him.

Doctors at the hospital placed Jake McMahon in a medically induced coma.

He woke up two days later.

“I took a deep breath,” Debra McMahon said.

“He didn’t know what he was doing there. He still doesn’t remember playing in the game.”

Less than a week after the incident, McMahon was out of the hospital and looking ahead, wondering when he would be able to get on his snowboard and put on his lacrosse uniform for the Panthers. He returned to school 11 days later, attending the rest of the soccer team’s practices and traveling with them for the remainder of the season.

“He loves to compete,” Pete McMahon said. “He just eats it up.”

“The first time he went to soccer practice, the football team cheered him,” Debra McMahon said. “He doesn’t really want to be reminded of it. All he cares about is when can he play the next sport.”

But that’s still up in the air.

And despite test after test, the doctors still can’t tell the family why it happened in the first place.

“I think he’s accepted it extremely well,” Pete McMahon said. “I think we’re all just waiting for a definitive diagnosis.”

In the meantime, the McMahons reflect on the string of coincidences that played into their son’s favor that night.

For starters, the game was played at night rather than in the afternoon when there likely would not have been as many spectators to come out of the stands and help.

Second was the quick arrival of a paramedic unit that just happened to be in the area of Hawthorne High School when the call came in.

Third was the response of the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph’s.

“Everything that needed to be done from A to Z was done, and done well,” Pete McMahon.

Finally, the McMahons are grateful that a AED was available right on the sideline just seconds away.

“Before this, we didn’t even know what an AED was,” said Debra McMahon, who, with her husband, has signed up to take a CPR course with training in the use of an AED.

“It’s the first time I ever used one,” Warner, the trainer, said. “And I hope I never have to use it again.”

AEDs are becoming almost as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers in public buildings, particularly school buildings since Governor Christie signed Janet’s Law.

The law, requiring school districts to place AEDs in every school building and “in reasonable proximity to gyms and athletic fields” by next September, is named for Janet Zilinski, an 11-year-old from Warren, who died from SCA following cheerleading practice in 2006.

“It’s very user-friendly,” Warner said. “It leads you through the process, telling you what to do and when to do it.”

The Hawthorne school district has an AED at every school as well as the one Warner carries. According to the Glen Rock school district website, the district has 17 AEDs on its property, including one for the trainer and four that can be put directly into the hands of coaches. There are 12 more on borough property, particularly athletic fields.

“There is a reason we got the outcome that we did,” Pete McMahon said. “If this spurs one or two parents with a child playing sports to ask where the AED is and how it’s used, that’s what I want to see come out of this.

“This is the story of one that saved a kid’s life,” he continued. “It doesn’t get more powerful than that.”

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Coaches Save Teen Player during Game

Posted by cocreator on October 09, 2013
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An Ocean Springs ninth-grade football player is hospitalized at University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile after collapsing due to an apparent heart episode during a game at D’Iberville Monday night.


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The player, whose name has not been released by school officials, fell ill during a routine play in the first half of the ninth-grade game, Harrison County Schools athletic director Mike Gavin said. On-site medical personnel administered treatment using an automated external defibrillator and revived the young man, Gavin said.

“He just collapsed — there was no contact,” Gavin said. “Our trainer, Keith Ganey, went to him immediately and knelt beside him and began first aid. One of the Ocean Springs coaches called 9-1-1. I ran and got our AED unit (from the football coaches office) and we got it out on the field. Both the D’Iberville Fire Department and Police Department responded quickly, though I think they had already begun the aid and revived him by the time (emergency units) got there within 5-10 minutes. They got him stable and got him in the ambulance and took him on.”

Ross said the Greyhounds player was conscious and alert while leaving the field on Monday, and was transported by ambulance to Ocean Springs Hospital before being transferred this morning to Mobile for further heart evaluations. Ross said he and his son, Greyhounds ninth-grade quarterback Hogan Ross, spent several hours at the hospital on Monday night.

“There were doctors out of our stands and Mike Gavin got the AED, and they used that,” Ross said. “… He was conscious (at the hospital), he was talking to me. He seemed fine. … Hats off to coach Mike Gavin, who busted down to the door to get to the AED machine and run it out there. The doctors that were there and the people that worked on the kid until the ambulance got there, it was a great job by them.”

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Coaches Save Teen Footballer during Game

Posted by cocreator on February 08, 2012
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In four years on the Rudder varsity football team, David Wilganowski watched hours of game video, reviewing countless plays with teammates and coaches in pursuit of improvement.

David Wilganowski the Survivor

But he had never seen anything like what happened in the Rangers’ game against Leander Rouse three weeks ago.

“I’ve watched it plenty of times,” Wilganowski said. “It’s eerie, but it doesn’t bother me. What am I going to do? It happened.”

What happened at Merrill Green Stadium on the night of Sept. 2 changed Wilganowski’s life. But his life didn’t end, thanks to medical personnel with the necessary equipment and training.

Wilganowski collapsed on the field in the fourth quarter of a tied game and went into cardiac arrest. Rudder trainer Jamie Woodall and her staff used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart Wilganowski’s heart. He was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Regional Health Center, then later that night was flown by helicopter to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Eleven days later at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Wilganowski underwent surgery in which a defibrillator was placed in his chest. He was released from the hospital and visited Rudder’s football practice the next day, and two days after that he was on the sideline cheering for his teammates as they played Houston C.E. King last Friday in their first game back at Merrill Green Stadium since the incident.

Wilganowski’s memory of his final game is like a video with a segment deleted. He remembers everything before the game, through three quarters and into the fourth period. Wilganowski does not remember the defensive series when Rudder forced the punt play after which he collapsed.

Woodall remembers that play. As is her habit, Woodall scanned the field, checking to make sure all the players got up. The last player she saw was Wilganowski, far from the football, toppling forward like a giant tree, unable to extend his arms to cushion the fall.

“I didn’t wait for a referee’s signal or anything,” Woodall said. “I ran out there. He was having trouble breathing, and when we turned him over he took his last breath.”

Woodall tears up at the memory. She and Bryan trainer Josh Woodall, her husband, are committee members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Even before Nader’s incident, the Woodalls made sure there were AEDs at Bryan and Consolidated. Woodall was an assistant trainer with the Tigers when Nader collapsed.

“Knowing that behind me there were all these BISD employees making those phone calls and taking care of those things like getting the gates opened and barricades removed … knowing that was going on behind me was very comforting.” Woodall said.

Rudder assistant trainer Mike Lozano used scissors to remove Wilganowski’s jersey and shoulder pads. Woodall applied the AED, which works automatically and is different from the paddle-style device that most people picture when they think of defibrillators.

The crowd fell silent as the slender young woman began chest compression on the player, with some fans openly praying. Woodall had never used an AED to revive anyone.

“Every experience I’ve had as well as every training I’ve ever been in certainly prepared me for that moment,” Woodall said. “I’m very, very proud to say that in both incidents, with Matt and David, there was good protocol, there was preparation and there were athletic trainers on site to get those things rolling in the right direction.”

Woodall makes sure to share credit for Wilganowski’s treatment. She invited all 17 of Rudder’s student trainers to the Bryan school board meeting Tuesday when she and her staff were honored for helping Wilganowski.

“It is a good recognition for athletic trainers and that’s what I would like for people to take from this,” Woodall said. “Not just that proper protocol was followed, but that there were trained professionals there. Not everybody has that. There are many stories of people who didn’t make it, where there were no athletic trainers or AEDs, or if there were, no one thought to go get it.”

“I don’t feel cheated at all, because I’m still here,” Wilganowski said. “I do feel like I didn’t get as much accomplished as I wanted to, but I can do more with this [experience] than I could with football.

“I have mechanical engineering down [as my major]. Who knows? Some day I could be designing these,” he said, tapping his chest over the defibrillator.

Wilganowski hopes his story will help spread the word about the importance of having AEDs at athletic competitions and of training school personnel to handle life-threatening situations.

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School Saves Teen during Football Game

Posted by cocreator on September 30, 2011
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A seventh-grade Azle boy is in good condition less than 24 hours after he collapsed and stopped breathing during a junior high football game Tuesday evening at Azle Junior High School.


View First Aid Corps World Map of AED Locations in a larger map

The boy, whose name has not been released, was on the field when he suddenly collapsed, coach Tim Spoonemore said. Unaware of how severe the boy’s injury may be, Spoonemore and coach Brad Averitte rushed on to the field and turned the boy over with Averitte bracing the athlete’s neck.

Adults Honored for Saving Collapsed Azle 7th Grader: MyFoxDFW.com

The coaches quickly realized the boy was unresponsive and had no pulse. While Spoonemore began performing CPR, Averitte continued to brace the boy’s neck while talking to him, comforting him and trying to get him to respond. After a short time, a parent stepped in and took over CPR while Spoonemore left to get one of two automated external defibrillators.

Rita White, a nurse with the district who happened to be watching the game from the stands, said she ran onto the field to help when she saw that the coaches had started CPR. A short time later assistant principal Brian Roberts arrived with the first AED. White, who trains district employees to use the device, then used the device on the player — and he began to breathe.

“I saw his stomach start moving, and that was just the greatest thing,” Spoonemore said during a news conference Wednesday. “When I saw him … getting in the ambulance and he was breathing, that just made my heart jump out of my body almost.”

The player was eventually rushed by helicopter to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where he remains Wednesday.

The boy’s family has decided not to speak publicly, but did say Wednesday morning that their son is in good condition and that everyone involved in saving their son’s life is a hero.

“It was a team effort. Everyone was here. Everyone had a very important part. No one person is a hero,” said White.

“Going over the scenario again and reliving what everybody in the community from the coaches, to the nurses, to the parents, to the administration, everything that they’ve done has really made today a fantastic day. A young man has life, a father has a son, a mother has a son and it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Averitte.

Azle superintendent Ray Lea arrived at Azle Junior High School minutes after it happened Tuesday and said the entire experience was surreal and that he is the world’s biggest fan of having AEDs on campus.

“Everybody there was in tears and just really shocked. This is just unheard of at a junior high school football game. It was surreal,” Lea said. “I couldn’t be any more proud of my staff to perform the way they did and rescue this young man. I don’t think the young man would be here without the AED.”

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