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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Doctor Saves Elderly at YMCA

Posted by cocreator on January 31, 2014
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It’s not often a doctor who specializes in skin diseases is called upon to rescue someone with a stalled heart.

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But when a man collapsed at the Stephens Family YMCA late Sunday afternoon, Christie Clinic dermatologist Dr. Jeremy Youse swung into action for all his one year of advanced cardiac life support training was worth.

“My year of training that I thought I would never use came in pretty handy,” he said Tuesday.

Jeremy Youse the Saviour

Jeremy Youse the Saviour

Youse said he was at the YMCA exercising when he heard a commotion across the room and someone called out, “we need a doctor.”

“It felt very much like a primetime drama,” he said.

Youse said he went right into doctor mode, and found a man who appeared to be about 75 or 80 years old who looked like he’d passed out or fallen. His heart wasn’t beating, he wasn’t responsive, and when Youse checked his pulse, he found, “he was pulse-less.”

The man who collapsed was identified by YMCA CEO Mark Johnson as Dave Sutton, a YMCA member.

Sutton was in critical condition at Carle Foundation Hospital Tuesday.

Youse said he started doing chest compressions on Sutton, then CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and then used the YMCA’s automatic external defibrillator, a portable device used to diagnose life threatening heart arrhythmias and administer an electrical shock to the heart, if necessary.

Three other health care providers were also at the YMCA exercising and soon all four were hovered around Sutton, Youse said.

One of them, Laurie Lee, a physician assistant with Kirby Medical Group in Atwood, said the patient appeared to have fallen from a treadmill and most likely a deficiency of oxygen to the heart sent him down.

She called for the defibrillator device, “and we got it on him in seconds,” she said.

“After we shocked the guy, he woke up,” Youse said.

Sutton was down for less than four minutes, but before he left on the ambulance, he was talking, Youse said.

“He seemed a little sore, a little bit groggy, but he was coherent,” Youse said.

Johnson said the YMCA has had four AED machines, “fortunately one near the treadmills,” since it opened, and the staff is trained how to use them.

He wasn’t there when Sutton collapsed, Johnson said, but he is so proud of how everyone swung into action and worked together to help rescue him.

“We kind of pride ourselves here on being a community,” he said.

Youse said what he hopes others might take away from this is how important a little CPR training is for everyone.

Youse took his advanced cardiac life support training back during his internship at Mayo Clinic. But he learned those automatic external defibrillator machines in public places are so simple to use, about anybody could follow the instructions to help save a life.

“It’s completely autopilot,” Youse said. “They are idiot-proof.”

But he urges everyone to spend at least 10 or 15 minutes understanding the basics of CPR.

“Even if there are not doctors there, if people have a little bit of CPR training, if there are those AED machines there, they could do the same thing,” he said.

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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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Fellow Students Save Student Basketball Player

Posted by cocreator on January 23, 2014
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Sports Medicine students at Valencia High School learned the true value of their life-saving course first-hand early this school year when they grabbed a defibrillator and saved the life of a fellow student.

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Chibuzo Ikonte, a promising member of Valencia’s varsity basketball team, is alive today thanks in part to the fast action of students enrolled in the school’s program who knew how to use a defibrillator.

Recently, more than a dozen additional Valencia High School students learned how it was done during a crash course in saving lives. They practiced resuscitating head-and-torso mannequins and tiny football-sized baby mannequins with the understanding the victims could one day be real.

They were shown how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation and shown how to use an automated external defibrillator.

Training was provided by the National HART Foundation and led by one of its founders, Los Angeles Fire Department Captain and paramedic trainer Thomas Stafford.

“All these things are new to you, but at the end when you’re all done you’ll feel very comfortable and you’ll be able use it in real life like they did back in September when that nice young man was saved by you guys — the Sports Medicine kids,” Stafford told the class.

“That’s what this is all about,” he said. “That you use this in real life.”

On Sept. 25, the 6-foot-4 Ikonte collapsed in the school’s gymnasium during basketball practice.

Sports Medicine students responded immediately to the emergency — the way they’ve been trained.

Coach Joe Monteleone — who heads the program and credits the Sports Medicine students for helping save Ikonte’s life — told students during the National HART Foundation training that Ikonte is fine and doing extremely well at school.

“These students are one step away from working with athletes on campus,” Monteleone said, but he added the ability to save lives through skills learned in the class reaches far beyond campus. Trained students have the ability to resuscitate anyone, including infants.

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Nurse & Allied Healthworker Save Man in Fitness Gym

Posted by cocreator on January 23, 2014
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No matter how complicated your relationship with fitness is, it’s probably not as complicated as Justin Gress’.

Justin Gress the Survivor, Joy Loiseau & Jill Weisenberger the Saviours

Justin Gress the Survivor, Joy Loiseau & Jill Weisenberger the Saviours

The 34-year-old West Fargo man was nearly killed by exercise when, during an hour-long run on a treadmill, he was struck by a sudden heart attack that left him in a coma two Sundays ago, Jan. 12.

However, it was also that training regimen that may have helped save his life.

“If it was going to happen then, it was going to happen eventually,” Gress said.

Jill Weisenberger, who was at Snap Fitness in West Fargo working out at the time, said her husband, who was on the treadmill next to Gress, saw Gress step up his running pace just before he collapsed. At that point, Gress had been on the treadmill for nearly an hour.

“Anyone who can run on the treadmill for an hour has got to be in pretty good shape,” Weisenberger said. “Very much a fluke-type thing.”

Joy Loiseau was on the treadmill on the other side. She was feeling exhausted after a long day working at the hospital, and seeing her own red, sweaty face, glanced at Gress.

“I looked over for some dumb reason,” she said, “and saw he wasn’t sweating much.”

She turned away – and Gress went down.

What Weisenberger and Loiseau didn’t know, and what Gress is thankful to be around to describe today, is his history of drinking and smoking and his spotty relationship with exercise.

Gress said he first started running back in 2010, to do a 10K, but had fallen off his training routine afterward.

Weisenberger didn’t know this, but she did know heart attacks. She had worked with heart patients 25 years before in her long career as a nurse.

“If someone that’s in their 30s goes down,” Weisenberger said, “You’re thinking they’re not going to come out of it.”

Loiseau and Weisenberger at first thought it was a stroke. Then they realized Gress had no pulse and they began chest compressions, taking turns for more than 10 agonizing minutes to keep him alive while the ambulance was on its way.

Luckily, Loiseau, a speech pathologist, had taken CPR training before.

Meanwhile, another gym member stayed on the phone with the hospital, while a fourth went through Gress’ belongings, trying to see what medical conditions he might have.

“What happened to me – they call it a widow maker – the chances of making it are so slim,” said Gress, who doesn’t remember anything of the day. “I was clinically dead for 10 minutes.”

Erin Gress, Justin’s twin sister, said her brother’s doctors told her one of his arteries was 80 percent blocked. The run could have caused a piece of the blockage to break off, they said, but the running had also strengthened his heart, which helped him survive.

“He’s very healthy; he runs every day,” she said. “And it just wasn’t good enough.”

She said she’s already changed her diet and plans to quit smoking after seeing her brother dodge a bullet.

When her brother woke up, her mother had not left his side once, she said. When doctors brought him out of the medically induced coma, the first person he asked to see was his infant daughter, Ava, who was born Dec. 20.

Gress has been home since Jan. 17 – a mere five days after his heart attack.

He’s planning to start rehab soon, and he’s already talking about hitting the treadmill again, though he doubts he’ll be cleared by doctors to run in this year’s marathon as he’d hoped.

“I almost didn’t get to be a father to my little girl,” he said. “Every day, it’s another level of thankfulness you’re around.”

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