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Athletic Trainer Honored as Red Cross Hero for Life-Saving Action

Articles for Athletic Trainers and News StoriesLaura Smith, a dedicated science teacher and Athletic Trainer at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, is being celebrated for her life-saving actions during a critical moment at a junior varsity soccer game.

Laura Smith ATCDespite her humility and discomfort with the title, many are calling her a hero for saving a teen athlete's life after he unexpectedly collapsed on the field.

Jeff Giovannone, Widefield's athletic director, expressed his admiration without reservation, stated:

"She's definitely a hero. (The athlete) had pretty much died on the field. She brought him back, saved his life. She’s a hero, for sure."

This sentiment is echoed by the American Red Cross, which will officially recognize Smith and several others as “Red Cross Heroes of the Year” at an upcoming soiree.

The incident occurred on October 5, during a game between Widefield and Harrison High School. When a Harrison player collapsed without any apparent cause, Smith's training kicked in.

With no pulse and the athlete not breathing, she initiated CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to deliver a potentially life-saving shock. Thanks to her efforts, the athlete regained his pulse before emergency services took over.

"That was the first time I’d ever done CPR on an actual person. But I’ve been an instructor for so long that it was all muscle memory."

The athlete she saved has since received an implantable defibrillator and is cleared to return to sports, a result Smith describes as "a great outcome."

Despite her instrumental role in saving a life, Smith remains modest about her actions, emphasizing that she was simply doing her job.

"I never anticipated any of this. It’s been a little overwhelming. I didn’t think it was that big a deal."

Giovannone praised Smith's humility and commitment to her role, underscoring the impact of her actions not just on the saved athlete, but on the entire community.

"She doesn’t seek the spotlight, and she doesn’t brag on herself. That’s okay — we’ll do it for her."

Smith's recognition as a Red Cross Hero of the Year underscores the critical importance of CPR training and emergency preparedness in sports and beyond. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the difference one person can make in a moment of crisis.

The Red Cross Rocky Mountain Heroes Soiree, where Smith and others will be honored, is set to take place at the Denver Center for the Arts, celebrating those who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and compassion.