Apr 5, 2021
Two Ohio Trainers Save HS Baseball Player’s Life

“It didn’t feel like an accomplishment,” Jaci Combs, an athletic trainer for Fairborn High School in Ohio, said. “I was full of dread about it, honestly, because we didn’t know what the outcome would be.”

Combs, along with TJ Tillman, sprang into action when receiving an unexpected call from the school’s baseball coach. One of the players, Bennett Hart, has two mutations on the same gene, which affects his heart, according to a report from WKRC Local 12, and had just collapsed during a baseball training session.

baseballHart was running stadium stairs during a baseball conditioning session when he fell down a portion of the staircase and was lying face down at the bottom, according to the report.

Well-aware of Hart’s condition — he had previously survived an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, Combs and Tillman hopped in the golf cart with an AED in the back and their training kicked in.

Combs told WKRC he took Hart’s pulse and didn’t feel anything, and quickly instructed nearby people to call EMS while she began CPR.

“At that point, same with Jaci, I was in tunnel vision,” Tillman told WKRC.

It took eight shocks from the internal defibrillator before Hart’s heart returned to a normal rhythm.

“We had people telling us that day that we had saved somebody’s life,” Combs said to WKRC. “It didn’t feel like that to me.”

» ALSO SEE: Tips to Strengthening an Athlete’s Heart

Tillman added, “It felt like we did our job and we did the best we could do at that point.”

Hart’s heart rate must remain under 120 to 130 beats per minute or his heart could be at risk of another life-threatening emergency, according to WKRC. Wherever he goes now, he carries his own AED. Cardiologists and sudden cardiac experts told Local 12 that sudden cardiac arrest in athletes is a largely survivable event with prompt treatment and access to an AED.

“Pretty lucky that I go to this school that has AEDs and athletic trainers because I wouldn’t be here without them,” Hart said to Local 12.

To read the full story from WKRC Local 12, click here

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