On Jan. 24, a Kansas State student playing basketball at the Peters Recreation Center suddenly fainted and began seizing on the floor. Students Kennedy Brown, Ian Gash and Emme Tremaine parted the crowd and called 911. They proceeded to get the first aid kit and the automated external defibrillator (AED) to administer a shock to his heart if he lost a pulse. K-State Policer Officer Andrew Koharchik also helped with chest compressions as they worked to save his life.
“I have a newfound respect for people who do that every day,” Gash, senior in marketing, said. “Because I can’t imagine that being your nine-to-five. It really brings home the sanctity of life and how fragile we really are. It really brings everything into perspective when you see something like that.”
As rec center employees, CPR and first aid training are required parts of getting the job. These medical emergencies can and have occurred multiple times in the same week at the rec center. Brown, junior in human development and family science, said she is grateful for the training sessions she’s had and the skills they gave her.
“I mean, he was a perfectly healthy kid, 20 years old, just playing basketball with his friends that he grew up with and then all of a sudden … he was close to dying,” Brown said. “And I think it just makes you realize how fragile life is. Appreciate the people around you and make the most of every day. You can hear about that stuff happening but then when you see it and you’re like, ‘Okay, this really could happen to anybody.’”
Thankfully, the student was revived and is recuperating at a hospital in Kansas City. Tremaine, sophomore in mass communications, hopes the staff at the rec center will implement yearly or monthly CPR training.
“You can’t really prepare mentally necessarily for that,” Tremaine said. “But I think knowing the skills — the fact that we do have to be trained in order to work at the rec is obviously good — but I think after that whole experience we can all agree, we want all the rest of our staff to be brushed up on it, because it is something where it’s like you shouldn’t have to be nervous, you just know how to do it so go and do it. … Somebody’s life is depending on it.”
The three students and K-State police officer were presented with challenge coins from Riley County EMS and K-State Police, signifying their earned respect from them as well as their ability to go above and beyond in an emergency situation. These coins are also highly respected in the military.
After the paramedics were able to get the student into the ambulance that day, they expressed their appreciation for the work the three student employees had done.
“They had all asked us each if we were OK, but also just reminded us, ‘You did everything you were supposed to,’” Brown said. “’You guys did awesome. We’re proud of you.’”