ATC Saves Life of Co-Worker

Thursday, March 7, 2002

DALLAS (March 7, 2002) - When a life-threatening situation occurs during a collegiate or high school athletic event, certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are often the first of the team medical staff to respond. However, most may not realize ATCs are often the first respondents to everyday life-threatening scenarios as well. Last week, Mike Weller, head athletic trainer at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee (north of Chattanooga), did just that by saving the life of a co-worker. Weller was the first responder to 56-year old Ken Froemke, dean and assistant to the academic vice president at Bryan College, who collapsed during a routine workout on Thursday (2/28). According to Weller, Froemke has been in very good shape, regularly exercising from three to four times a week. From the time of the collapse to Weller's arrival - about 1-1/2 minutes, Froemke had stopped breathing and had no pulse. Along with the help of the Bryan College's Athletic Director, Sandy Zensen, Weller performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and was able to keep Froemke's airway open, long enough for the ambulance to arrive and take over. Froemke was stabilized at a local hospital and then transferred to a specialty facility where he underwent quadruple bypass surgery on Friday. "Thursday's incident brings to light how vital it is to have staff trained in CPR," commented Weller. "The most important fact is that we mandate that all coaches and athletic directors take CPR and renew it every year." The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) suggests every school with an athletics program have an emergency plan, which includes sports medicine professionals (including ATCs), officials and coaches be trained in CPR. "This is a perfect example of advanced preparation," stated Ron Courson, ATC, PT, University of Georgia Athletic Association Director of Sports Medicine and chair on NATA's College/University Athletic Trainers' Committee. "Having an individual trained in CPR at all events, practices and even during the work week can ensure the safety of everyone." The NATA states emergencies may arise at anytime, not just during athletic events and that the development and implementation of an emergency plan can help ensure that the best care is provided at all times. "We understand how vital it is to be prepared," commented Courson. "In fact, NATA is publishing a position statement on emergency planning in athletics in the March issue of the Journal of Athletic Training." March is National Athletic Training Month and this year's theme is Prevention: Avoid Injury - Stay Active. The NATA, based in Dallas, Texas, is the voice for nearly 22,000 ATCs across the country. The NATA's mission is to enhance the quality of health care for athletes and those engaged in physical activity, and to advance the profession of athletic training through education and research in the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries.