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CPR and AEDs - coaches save student atheletes' lives
Posted in , on November 30, 2023

Staff were trained in CPR and AEDs 

Seguin High School golf coach Ruston Laurence doesn’t feel like he’s a hero.

The same goes for Lamar High School golf coach Gary Webb.

You can add Lamar athletic trainer Bryant Grice to that list, too.

No, all three feel like all they were doing when they performed life-saving measures on student-athletes recently was what they were trained to do in a time of crisis.

While they might not consider themselves heroes, their actions in a time of need were certainly heroic. And life-saving.

“It’s really wild that this happened twice in such a short time,” Arlington ISD athletic director Eric White said. “It’s one of those great things when you can have the end results we had. That’s a credit to our coaches, our trainers and district athletic trainer [Steve Guadalupe]. Steve does a great job to make sure we manage that. You think it’s something you’ll never have to do. When we do, we’re ready. We’re fortunate with the way things turned out.”

Laurence and Webb were both at Lake Arlington Golf Course for a tournament earlier this month when one of Laurence’s golfers started to feel lightheaded. The golfer then collapsed on the first hole at the golf course with Laurence next to him.

 The golfer had no pulse or heartbeat and Laurence called for help before beginning CPR. One of the coaches who heard the call for help was Webb, who came to help Laurence from the clubhouse and had the course’s automated external defibrillator [AED] with him. They used the AED on the student and there was no response. Webb then helped with the CPR before they administered the AED again.

The second try with the AED worked as the student began to stir. Paramedics then arrived and took over from there with the student responsive at that time. The student is now recovering.

“I think God put us in a situation that could not have been more perfect,” said Laurence. “If he had been on the other side of the golf course, it’s a different story. I don’t know that we did anything special; we were just the first men up. There were coaches going into action all over the place. We just happened to be the ones right there. Now he’s getting help he needed that he might not have gotten.”

Were the coaches fortunate or lucky that the outcome was as good as it was?

“A little bit of both,” said Webb. “He could have been anywhere on this golf course. The fact he was 30 seconds by cart from the golf shop was huge. There’s no doubt the CPR bought time. There’s no question the AED saved his life.”

Neither Laurence nor Webb had administered CPR on a person before in the time they’ve been with the district. Laurence has been with the district for 21 years and Webb for 28.

Just don’t call them heroes.

“It’s more relief,” Webb said. “I told someone it’s almost like you survived a car wreck. You don’t celebrate when you survive a car wreck. You just say, ‘Thank goodness everything worked out.’”

Their life-saving action at the course was something they had never done. But it wasn’t the first time a member of the athletic department has had to perform CPR and use the AED on a student-athlete this month!

CPR and AED - Lamar trainer helped saved student athlete's lifeThat distinction goes to Lamar athletic trainer Bryant Grice.

Grice was the trainer at the Lamar girls’ basketball game against Irving Nimitz in early November. During the warmups, one of the Nimitz basketball players collapsed.

Grice was in another gym when basketball coach Errin Levels called him in for help. Grice came and thought the player had a seizure. She was unresponsive and Grice called for the AED. Dallas firefighter Kenneth Zacharie was in the stands because his wife is the Nimitz basketball coach.

Grice began CPR on the athlete while Zacharie prepped the AED device. It took three rounds of CPR, three administrations of the AED and the arrival of paramedics for the student to finally get a normal heart rhythm. She’s now recovering.

Grice felt like he was just doing what he’s trained to do.

“It’s not a coincidence or happenstance,” he said. “I’m there at work. I’m supposed to be there. The coincidence of everything is that a paramedic happened to be there. He gets just as much credit as I do. We were both there.”

Like Laurence and Webb, Grice is trained in administering CPR and using the AED, but he’d never had to use one on anyone in his 12 years at Lamar.

He’s had time to reflect on the day and is just happy the outcome was what it was.

“I’m not sure there’s been much of a reaction other than people thanking me and congratulating me on a job well done,” Grice said. “It’s not that it’s a reason to celebrate. Her life is a reason to celebrate. I was doing my job. It’s our duty to react and respond in those situations.”