Racquetball

Staff & Bystander Save Elderly Racquetball Player in Gym

Posted by cocreator on December 27, 2011
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Dave Carlstrom, a former Fairbanks airport marketing director and minister, had just finished playing racquetball at a gym in Seattle when his heart stopped in early December. They say he was dead.


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And he would have been, except the people around him knew just what to do — they gave him CPR and hooked him up to an automatic external defibrillator.

“You never think it will happen to you,” said Carlstrom, who turned 62 the next day. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the quick-thinking staff and members at the gym who were able to apply CPR and activate the AED within three minutes of the incident.”

It happened at the L.A. Fitness center in Ballard. After Carlstrom and his racquetball partner, Leo Muller, sat down after their game, Carlstrom felt ill.

I was “sitting down on the bench, as is our usual custom to catch a breath, putting away the gear, and suddenly feeling a profound sense of unwellness,” Carlstrom told the TV station.

Then he slid to the floor, his face turning purple.

Flight attendant Page Huletz was working out and saw what happened. As part of her airline work, she receives periodic training on CPR and the use of external defibrillators.

As the employees of the health club rushed to perform CPR on Dave, Huletz reached for the electronic device.

“Right away we shocked him, his body comes up off the floor, and then the shock is absorbed and he took his first breath, and that was a miracle right there,” Huletz.

Dave was in the hospital for five days and is back at home. The story says he was “banned” from the racquetball courts until January.

He appeared on the TV story with the flight attendant who saved him and he also posed for pictures with the fire department personnel, who arrived in less than four minutes, and the health club workers.

“There’s been enormous mercy and grace in my life,” Dave said.

I asked Dave by email what it felt like when his heart stopped. He repeated the comment about the mercy and grace that has come his way and said:

“As for what it was like … after keeling over (quick, painless … great way to exit this mortal stage, albeit with a few loose ends for successors and assigns) I only saw darkness, i.e., no beckoning tunnel of light, etc.,” he said.

“I asked our pastor if I should be concerned. She thought a moment and inquired, ‘What was the temperature?’ No flames, so the matter was deemed theologically inconclusive … could be going either way.”

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Firefighter, Paramedic & Nurse Save Man during Racquetball Game

Posted by cocreator on May 27, 2011
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Matt Murray was playing racquetball when he collapsed at the LA Fitness in Wellington. He was having a heart attack.


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Captain Kim Grant-Hude from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue saw him on the ground and knew she had to act fast.

She asked for an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and, thankfully, the gym had one on site.

Kim shocked Matt twice and performed CPR on him saving his life.

He ended up needing two stents in is his heart to open up major arteries.

Matt says his doctor told him that he would have only had a one percent chance of surviving this kind of heart attack if Kim and the AED had not been there to shock him and save him.

He says his story is just one more reason why AED’s should be in all public places.

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Retired Firefighter Saves Man during Racquetball Game

Posted by cocreator on April 27, 2011
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Jerry Kilroy was playing racquetball at Burlingame’s Prime Time Athletic Club, something the retired firefighter has been doing three times a week for about 25 years, when he noticed something was horribly amiss.


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He turned around and, through a glass wall, saw his friend Doug Chin sprawled unconscious on the floor of a nearby court.

“Everyone was terrified. It was really scary,” recalled Ray Jungwirth, the club’s general manager, who was at the club that afternoon in mid-March. “Doug was flat on his back, not moving or breathing.”

Chin, an 18-year member of the gym and Belmont resident, had collapsed during a racquetball game about 4 p.m.

“All of a sudden, there was a hush and everything just stopped. I looked and there was Doug. He was down,” said Kilroy, a 69-year-old San Carlos resident who was a San Francisco firefighter for 29 years. “I did a quick survey — no breath, no pulse.”

Chin’s heart was fibrillating, beating rapidly and wildly, unable to properly pump blood through his body. Under such circumstances, a defibrillator can restore the person’s heartbeat to normal by sending an electric shock through the heart.

Kilroy knew there was a defibrillator at the club. He sprinted to the wall where it hung and hooked it up to Chin’s chest, then began performing CPR while the defibrillator took measurements. So-called “smart” defibrillators like the one at Prime Time have two oval patches that are placed on a patient’s chest. A robotic voice gives instructions while the machine determines whether a shock is necessary.

“The defibrillator said, ‘We are going to shock him. Stand clear.’ We stood clear and the shock was administered,” Kilroy said. “He started breathing.”

“It’s a miracle that everything fell into place. Thank God we have those (defibrillators) available,” said Jungwirth, who called Kilroy a “true hero.”

Medics from American Medical Response and firefighters from the Millbrae Fire Department arrived within minutes, summoned by a 911 call.

“Jerry’s actions were the reason for the change in the patient’s condition,” said Lanty Molloy, the fire captain who responded. “He is a hero.”

Chin, who is now on the mend and will be back in the gym in seven weeks, was taken to a hospital after medics and firefighters administered oxygen and otherwise tended to him. Described as a very private person by Kilroy, Chin did not respond to messages asking for comment.

Kilroy shrugged off the descriptions of his behavior as heroic.

“It’s something firefighters do,” he said. “They save people. I’d do it for you — I’d do it for anybody.”

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Gym Staff Save Man on Racquetball Court

Posted by cocreator on March 04, 2011
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Burr Ridge Police and the Pleasantview Fire Protection District answered a call from Life Time Fitness where a man had gone into full cardiac arrest on a racquetball court.


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Rhiannon J. Reisinger, the aquatics assistant department head, administered CPR and assisted with an AED machine. Grasso said the victim’s girlfriend later said his heart had completely stopped and that CPR and the AED likely saved his life.

Rhiannon Reisinger the Saviour

“It really shook me up,” Reisinger later told Patch. Adding that the quick responses of fellow Life Time employees Jillian Bouchard, who brought the AED to the scene, and Dan Mazepa, who called for help, were also factors in helping the man.

Reisinger said she has not seen the man since the incident but had been told that he was doing well. She said she didn’t know his full name.

“I haven’t had a chance to see him since it happened—I hope I do,” she told the board.

Reisinger was also humble about the act saying, “the AED is really what did it,” but added that the event is proof that both CPR and AED are life-saving mechanisms in an emergency.

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Trainers Save 2 Men on Campus within 2 Months

Posted by cocreator on January 03, 2011
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An assistant athletic trainer and clinical instructor at Central College, Chris Viesselman was closing the training room after track and field practice March 29 when two athletes rushed in saying someone was asking for help in the racquetball court.


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Viesselman and the athletes found Ken Nollen, a 63-year-old Pella resident and avid racquetball player, collapsed on the floor.

“He looked like he was convulsing so I thought he’d hit his head and was having a seizure,” Viesselman said. “I monitored him and at first I felt his pulse but then it went away.”

Viesselman sent the athletes to call 911 while Dustin Briggs, an assistant athletic trainer and clinical instructor at Central, joined Viesselman to perform CPR and use the AED.

The pair revived Nollen with one shock of the AED and he was taken to by ambulance to the Pella Regional Health Center. When his heart rhythm stabilized he was transported to the Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines where a stint was put in.

“It probably only took five minutes but it was a very intense five minutes,” Viesselman said. “It was the first person I’d seen not breathing, without a pulse or heart rate.”

Nollen was grateful to be in the right place at the right time.

“It’s pretty miraculous,” Nollen said. “All these things—where the heart attack happened, the trainers who may not normally be there so late, a defibrillator on site—were evidently planned by God to keep me alive a while longer.

“If this would have happened anywhere else there probably would have been too much response time for me to go without permanent damage or death,” Nollen said.

Nollen was able to celebrate his birthday two days later and he resumed playing racquetball about six weeks after the heart attack. Today he has no heart damage.

Viesselman had a strangely similar experience on a hot and humid afternoon on May 25, less than 60 days later.

After one mile on Central’s outdoor track, Steve McCann couldn’t get his breathing right. He knew spring-semester classes had ended but took his chances on getting inside Kuyper Gymnasium to reach a water fountain.

“Luckily one of the doors was open because they were refinishing the gymnasium floor,” said McCann, a 54-year-old Pella resident who jogs about three days a week.

On his way to the fountain McCann stopped and lay down, because the coolness of the floor felt good. Eventually he got a drink and lay back down on the floor.

That’s where Central’s athletics facilities operations coordinator Duane Houser found McCann.

“I was at the exercise science building across the street and a plumber needed a cart from the fieldhouse,” Houser said. “I saw McCann on the floor and asked how he was doing as I went around the corner.

“As I unlocked the fieldhouse door I looked back at McCann,” Houser said. “He was flailing his legs back and forth so I went back and he asked for an aspirin.

Houser, a former 22-year member of Pella law enforcement, has seen a lot of situations requiring an AED and has used one himself six times. He recognized something wasn’t right and went to the training room to see if anyone was around. He found Viesselman and Leslie Duinink, Central’s head athletic trainer and clinical instructor.

“It was a stroke of good luck we were there,” Duinink said. “We were supposed to have a golf outing as part of our Iowa Conference athletic trainers’ meeting, but there was a big downpour earlier, leaving standing water on the course. Chris and I just happened to be in the office.”

Showing signs of heat exhaustion, McCann was taken to the training room and put in a cold whirlpool.

“Initially he started to get better,” Viesselman said. “He was able to speak easier and he said he was feeling better but then all of a sudden he went into cardiac arrest.”

Holding a towel around McCann to keep him from sliding down in the tank, Houser helped get McCann out of the water before calling 911 as Viesselman started CPR and Duinink got the AED.

One shock stabilized McCann. The paramedics took him to the Pella Regional Health Center where he was transported to Mercy in Des Moines to have a stint placed.

“I can’t say enough for Chris, Leslie and Duane,” McCann said. “With their knowledge and staying calm under pressure, they’re just remarkable people to do something like that.”

Central’s staff members can’t recall any previous a life-threatening situations requiring the use of CPR and an AED, much less two in two months.

“I’m glad we were able to effect a positive change and it all worked out in the end,” Duinink said. ”The ambulance crew tells us it doesn’t always go that way so the fact we’re 2-for-2 here is pretty good.”

Each year the athletic training staff and students review first aid, emergency response, CPR and AED training.

“Some students think it’s ridiculous we make them do things over and over but there’s a reason,” Duinink said. “It’s about repetition so when you’re in a situation, your training will kick in and you’ll do it right.”

The students still in the training room when Nollen went down were prepared.

“The students really did a lot of work, especially calling the ambulance and getting the paramedics to the racquetball court,” Viesselman said. “They were very professional and handled it well.”

Briggs agreed the students controlled the situation.

“They didn’t really flinch or freak out, they just did what they were supposed to,” Briggs said. “I think it reaffirms what a strong program we have.”

“It really was a team effort providing care for those two people,” Viesselman said. “Everybody takes a different role and brings a level of experience. It goes much smoother and at the end of the experience you’re proud to be a part of that type of team.”

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