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Quick Action From Athletic Trainers Saves Seton Hill Spectator

Articles for Athletic Trainers and News StoriesOn an otherwise typical day for Seton Hill basketball, John Palumbo, a 72-year-old retired paramedic and a regular at the games, faced a life-threatening situation.

John Palumbo - Shane DunlapSuffering from a severe "widow-maker" heart attack while attending the last home game, Palumbo was saved by the immediate and expert response of Seton Hill’s team Athletic Trainers and Independence Health staffers, Trevor Lotz and Nicole Markiewicz.

Palumbo recounted the harrowing experience with profound gratitude:

“I have total gratitude. It’s just absolutely unreal what occurred. I thanked them with all my heart. They’re the ones who brought me back. There’s not enough words to say when you get a second chance at life.”

The emergency unfolded as Palumbo, who had driven himself to the game, began experiencing chest pains on his way to the gym. His condition rapidly deteriorated, leading to his collapse. Unbeknownst to him, he was in the throes of a potentially fatal heart attack that required immediate action.

Trevor Lotz, Seton Hill’s head Athletic Trainer, and AT Nicole Markiewicz, alongside Dave Snowberger, the Athletic Trainer from Clarion University, sprang into action.

Lotz reflected on the moment:

“You just kind of go blank and the training takes over. Getting to see him standing in front of me — the emotion is kind of overwhelming. He’s alive and well, and that’s all that matters to me.”

Together, they performed CPR and utilized an AED to revive Palumbo before his emergency transport to the hospital, where he received two stents to correct a significant blockage in his artery.

Markiewicz highlighted the unexpected nature of their roles that day, saying: 

“It’s one of the things we are certified for. We’re prepared for it, but it’s nothing you see every day... It can be about saving lives.”

Palumbo’s story is a vivid reminder of the unpredictability of life and the paramount importance of emergency preparedness. His return to Seton Hill to honor those who saved his life was a poignant moment, underscoring the deep gratitude he felt towards Lotz, Markiewicz, and all who had a hand in giving him a second chance at life.

As Palumbo looks forward to getting back to his normal activities, his experience serves as a powerful testament to the community's spirit and the critical role of medical professionals in sports environments.

“I’m feeling good. I was in the right place at the right time.”

Read the full story here