When Jesuit soccer star Christian Lerma collapsed during a recent boys soccer match at Dallas-area rival Richardson Pearce, the homestanding Pearce athletic trainer had to think quickly.
Luckily, the school had an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site, and training to prepare for just such an evolving situation has become routine enough that Tara Grubbs knew precisely what to do.
“He was kind of gasping, but not breathing,” Grubbs told the Dallas Morning News about the frightening incident. “We learn in CPR, that’s a sign of possible cardiac arrest.
“His eyes were open, but it was like no one was there. He was unresponsive. … By the time the ambulance got there, thankfully he had started breathing and we were able to find a pulse.”
Of course by that point, Lerma’s life had effectively already been saved by Grubbs and others on the scene. The Pearce head athletic trainer had immediately signaled for others to summon emergency help after seeing Lerma on the field. She had a Jesuit player retrieve the AED she brought with her from the school gym to the field then shocked Lerma back into consciousness.
According to Grubbs, her intervention with Lerma marked the third time that a school in Richardson ISD has had to use an AED in the past two years. Perhaps foreseeing such a need, the Richardson ISD placed four AEDs in the halls and facilities at Pearce, access which Grubbs is convinced was nothing short of life-saving.
That, combined with ever-expanding awareness of the need for vigilant readiness in the case of a cardiac episode — and the necessary training that goes with it — has helped save numerous lives, both in the Dallas area and beyond.
“I’m very thankful that our school district has provided those for us and sees that they are so important. I don’t think other school districts are as well-equipped as we are.”