While I was working out at the gym on the weight training equipment yesterday morning a man in his 60s and his wife were working out together on the equipment next to me. All of a sudden the man had a stroke and passed out right in the middle of doing an exercise. He went unconscious and fell limp onto the machine. His wife asked if someone could please call 911 and that is when I looked over and saw what was happening. We called 911 right away and a few of us worked together to lay him down on the floor. He was breathing but was completely unresponsive. His breath was shallow on the inhale and very forceful on the exhale. It was unsettling and scary. We were waiting for rescue to arrive and none of us were sure what to do to help him. It seemed like time was moving way too slowly and we were living in a twilight zone. At that point a firefighter/paramedic who was lifting weights on the other side of the gym noticed what was happening and ran over. Thank God he was there because this HERO took control and knew what to do to stabilize the man until the ambulance arrived about 10 (long) minutes later. He was taken to the hospital and I do not know how he is doing. I have been saying prayers and when I go to the gym today I will ask if anyone knows anything.
The gym is full of personal trainers and exercise instructors (including myself) – all of us certified in First Aid and CPR – but truthfully that 4 hour class does not truly prepare you for saving a life in my opinion. How can you accomplish that in a matter of hours, sitting in a classroom setting?? I was certified a year ago as part of my RRCA coach certification and I am definitely ready for a refresher. Yesterday was my wake up call. The only thing I knew I was capable of yesterday was grabbing scissors for the EMT to cut open the man’s shirt and consoling the wife and making sure she was okay. Not that this wasn’t helpful, I’m sure it was, but it made me realize that I want to be better prepared in case of situations like this. I want to feel confident in my ability to be helpful and stabilize a situation until help can arrive. As an athlete, coach and mother and honestly just as a citizen, this is important to me. I’m sure every trainer and instructor in the gym yesterday morning felt the same way.
Are you certified in First Aid and CPR? Do you feel confident that you would be able to take control in a situation like this until medical help could arrive? Other than a refresher course, what do you think we can do to better prepare ourselves for honing these skills in the event of an emergency?