January 29, 2012
In light of all the “press” we have been given, I thought I would spend some time to document the activities I remember of November 14th for you.
How can I not mention that we got off to a good start? We scored the first goal; they tied it up in the middle of the first period. Jack hit a slap shot off the point and I deflected it in for our second goal. So we were winning 2-1 and you were playing quite well. About two minutes before going down you made a save by kicking your legs out parallel to the ice.
With a little over a minute left in the period play was down at our offensive end. I was the next line out. We heard a loud crash and looked down toward you, only to see you lying flat on your back. We waited about 2-3 seconds, and then realized something was wrong. Brian and I jumped over the boards, I skated toward the Renegades bench and yelled; “call 911, get the AED!”
I skated down to where you were laying and Brian had cleared the goal. We took off your helmet and then jersey. We struggled to get your shoulder pads off, but finally did. I checked for a pulse, thought I felt a faint pulse. Your eyes were open but you were not responsive. I stuck my finger down your throat to check for obstructions and to try and get a gag reflex-I did not.
By that time the AED was there and I started hooking it up to you. The pads were a bit difficult to get the covers off the adhesive part, but I finally got it. The AED took over, said checking, shock required (I thought Oh Sh$@), charging, push flashing button. During this process somebody asked if it was okay to use this thing on the ice, but that did not stop us from using it. I had my finger above the flashing button and hesitated, but Brian said; “push the da*& button. I pushed it and you jumped quite a bit. Next the AED said to administer CPR, 30 compressions, and two breaths. I started compressions. The first one resulted in a big “crunch” of bones that I can still hear to this day! After 30 compressions Brian did the two breaths, and I started again. At the end of the second round the AED instructed me to stand back, it was checking. Same deal, checking, shock required, charging, push the flashing button. This time I pushed away and you jumped again. I started CPR again, wondering if the EMT’s would arrive some time soon.
I told somebody to make sure there was someone at an entrance for the ambulance when they arrived. I could tell they were opening the zamboni door, which I thought was a good idea. During the fourth round of compressions the EMT’s arrived. One was standing over me and said “faster, faster, do the compressions faster.” I told him that this was his job and he should take over! (funny now). They began to work on you, hooked up a monitor and oxygen on your mouth. Two of us started taking off your skates and leg pads, as I know they would cut them off if we did not take them off for you. Once the pads were off we lifted you onto a stretcher together and they took you off to the hospital. Somebody, I think one of the refs, had called Pam so I knew she was on her way to the hospital.
By that time it started to hit me what had all happened, and I started to cry and breathe real heavily. I skated to center ice and yelled; “anybody who wants to pray come to center ice!” I think most all the guys did come to center ice, and I led a prayer thanking God for all the help and that you are a Believer and to watch over you!”
An interesting side note that I just realized the night of the Kirkwood award, I never thought of death as an option for you while at the rink.
The locker room was pretty quiet after that, the Jaguars all changed out, some of the Renegades were playing some hockey when I left. I loaded my gear and then picked up your gear curb side so I could get it to you later. On the drive to the hospital I called Debbie to let her know what was going on. I was tearing and breathing pretty heavy. She was worried that I would pass out, and talked to me all the way to the hospital.
When I arrived Pam was there as well as your son. I had not met your son until that night, and enjoyed meeting him. A lot of the Jaguars showed up, and we all hung out and waited. Most of the guys hung around until midnight, I stayed until about 2 AM. At that time the doctor on staff told us that you were doing okay, and they were running several tests. Pam, Jason and I went in to see you at about 2, and you were awake and in quite a bit of pain. Your eyes were open but you were not responsive much to us. I told the doctor the “story” so he would know what had been done, and left a bit after that.
During our wait time we chatted with the EMT’s, who were packing the ambulance. They indicated at that time that only 3% of the people who have this type arrest make it, and at that time I realized that we had a lot of great things go on that night.
My original thought was to keep the story quiet, because I did not want to be considered a “hero”. But a friend from church convinced me that the story could be used to help others, so while I did not go out of my way to tell folks, I have shared the story in order to help others. I did call Andy Seers, the EMT who taught me to use the AED and told him he saved a life. Andy, big sensitive guy, teared up at that. By the way, Tom at Kirkwood was Andy’s first supervisor! Small world!
One more thought Steve. I asked God why all this happened, He has not answered me yet. But one thing, I asked you for one thing, that picture. That is my gift from you for all that happened. You will always be a special person to me. And I know God has something else for you to do in this world, so let’s both listen for what He wants us to do.
Enjoy your family, we both have been Blessed! Thanks!