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Athletic Trainer and Firefighter Save High School Athlete's Life

Articles for Athletic Trainers and News StoriesBack in November in Irving, Texas, teamwork between the Lamar High School's Head Athletic Trainer Bryant Grice and Dallas Firefighter Kenneth Zacharie Jr. saved the life of Nimitz High School basketball player Kayla Thompson.

Grice, Thompson and Zacharie JrTheir heroic actions were duly recognized at a recent Irving ISD trustee meeting this week. 

The dramatic incident unfolded during a girls’ basketball game between Lamar and Nimitz. Grice, received a distress call while in another gym and rushed to the scene. Initially believing Kayla had suffered a seizure, he quickly realized the gravity of the situation and called for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Coincidentally, Zacharie, the husband of Nimitz basketball coach April Zacharie and an off-duty firefighter, was in the stands.

Working in tandem, Grice commenced CPR while Zacharie prepared the AED. Their life-saving efforts involved three rounds of CPR and three AED shocks, continuing until paramedics arrived and Kayla regained a normal heart rhythm. She has since been recovering from the ordeal.

Reflecting on the event, Grice, who has served 12 years at Lamar but never before used an AED in a real-life situation, emphasized the collaborative nature of the rescue.

“I was doing my job. It’s our duty to react and respond in those situations.”

Zacharie, in an interview, shared his belief in divine intervention, noting the great timing of his early arrival at the game. He also stressed the importance of widespread CPR training and the availability of AEDs:

"That's important because CPR and AEDs save lives and all of us can attest to that."

The incident has highlighted the essential role of athletic trainers in emergency response and the value of having medical equipment like AEDs readily accessible in schools.

Despite her recovery, Kayla will not be playing basketball for Nimitz this season. However, thanks to the quick actions of Grice and Zacharie, she has a future to look forward to, a testament to the critical impact of prompt and skilled emergency response. 

Full story here and here