Life Savers

Two Southeastern athletic trainers assist in saving a runner's life
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Matt Reynolds (left) instructs senior Walter Smith Graduate assistant Matt Reynolds (left) instructs senior Walter Smith in appropriate massage techniques as they work on a member of the Track and Field team in the training room.

Two members of Southeastern's athletic training staff recently put their education and experience into action to save the life of a collapsed runner. Walter Smith and Matt Reynolds, who serve as the primary athletic trainers for Southeastern's Cross Country and Track and Field teams, came to the assistance of a runner who had stopped breathing during a charity run prior to a meet at McNeese State University.

First responders, including volunteer firefighters and a student athletic trainer from McNeese, began to administer CPR. When CPR proved to be unsuccessful, Smith used an automated external defibrillator (AED). The portable device analyzes the heart's rhythm and determines if electric shock is needed to restore an effective rhythm.

The AED alerted Smith, Reynolds and other first responders that the man's heart was not responding and advised them to use shock as the next step in reviving him. After 10 minutes of shock and CPR, the injured man regained consciousness and responded positively to tests administered by first responders.

Reynolds, a certified athletic trainer and graduate assistant, and Smith, a former Lions football player and senior in the athletic training undergraduate program, admit to being nervous, but relied on their education, experience and training to save the man's life.

"When the AED read that his heart rate was back to normal, I realized I did exactly what I was trained to do," said Reynolds. "We're trained to save your life if you're ever in that situation."

In addition to their knowledge of life-saving techniques like the ones used in Lake Charles, La., Southeastern's athletic trainers are trained to heal injuries, administer physical therapy and provide pre- and post-practice treatment to student athletes.

According to Reynolds, the runner is stable after spending a few days in a local hospital. He believes the situation demonstrated his and Smith's abilities as athletic trainers as well as proved the value of athletic training and the use of AEDs as a whole.
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