MacArthur High School athletic trainers recognized for saving student's life

15-year-old student-athlete passed out after workout

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Fire Department on Tuesday recognized two MacArthur High School athletic trainers who sprang into action when one of their football players suddenly collapsed on the field.

Head athletic trainer Chad Sutherland said he was on the field Feb. 7 when a 15-year-old student-athlete stumbled after a workout and passed out.

"I couldn't get any response from him," Sutherland said. "I was doing anything I could try, and then started checking his vitals. I couldn't get any pulse or he wasn't breathing at all. He kind of started turning blue."

While Sutherland started chest compressions on the student, the other trainer, Jeff Schmidt, brought out an automated external defibrillator.

"It was pretty scary -- looking back at the moment," Sutherland said. "We didn't have any issues. I guess we just said, 'This is what we got to do at this point in time.'"

The trainers hooked up the student to the defibrillator, continued CPR and then alternated with chest compressions until the Fire Department arrived.

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said the quick response, and the use of the defibrillator, saved the student's life.

"What we want to do is people that have businesses, churches, schools such as this, malls, that they all have AEDs," Hood said. "Because what it's going to do is cause an everyday person to become a hero. And that's what we want, because we can only get there so quick and the brain is damaged in four minutes. But in the situation with an AED, it's going to start the heart back up and give that person a chance." 

Sutherland said the student was released from the hospital Sunday and is expected to make a full recovery.

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