Teamwork helped fallen 8th-grade Jessie Clark player after he collapsed
By Jim Warren — email@example.com
Posted: 12:12pm on Feb 7, 2012; Modified: 2:20pm on Feb 7, 2012
Fayette County school district officials said Tuesday fast action by an athletic trainer, safety procedures that worked according to plan and some good fortune came into play after eighth-grader collapsed at a baseball conditioning drill Monday afternoon.
The Jessie Clark Middle School student, identified as Benjamin Highland, was reported in critical condition Tuesday morning at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. on the baseball field at Lafayette High School.
School district officials said Tuesday that athletic personnel on the scene Monday afternoon quickly recognized what was happening when the boy fell, and they summoned veteran trainer Jenni Williams. She told a coach to call 911, then used an automatic external defibrillator to treat the boy and administered CPR until emergency ambulance crews arrived.
A nurse who lived nearby and was out walking her dog saw what was happening and pitched in to help provide CPR, said Mike McKenzie, the district's high schools director.
McKenzie said everyone involved worked together, crediting Williams in particular.
"With the adrenalin and emotion after such an event, she was pretty shook for a while last night," McKenzie said. "She's fine, but in the moments after such a situation where you've just helped a young person survive ... .
"In talking with her last night ... we thanked her and told her job well done. Her first response was, 'It was a team effort.'"
McKenzie also credited others who helped in the crisis: coaches on the scene, the nurse who was walking nearby and an off-duty police officer who offered assistance. He said school officials were trying to find the nurse's name.
Williams, who is employed by the University of Kentucky, was declining comment Tuesday, UK officials said.
"It really was a team effort by a lot of people on the sidelines who jumped in and helped out," McKenzie said.
According to Fayette school district officials, the boy was participating in drills with Lafayette High School baseball players, and apparently was trying out for the team.
They said the players had finished one drill and were transitioning to another when he collapsed.
"One of the kids yelled 'Coach;' they look over and saw a young man start to go down," McKenzie said. "They immediately went to the young man, determined immediately that they needed the trainer and called the trainer who was just inside the gym. She came out, immediately turned to one assistant coach who called 911, turned to the other coach and he immediately went and got the AED. She began CPR."
McKenzie said he didn't know how long the drills had been going on before the boy collapsed.
Did you spot it?
The only thing that could have been done better and that could have increased the probability of Benjamin's getting out of the hospital with major brain functions intact would have been having someone start CPR immediately after Benjamin went down, rather than having called for the trainer. Please get trained, all of you.