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Home > News > Optim Sports Medicine ATC Save Athlete’s Life

Optim Sports Medicine ATC Save Athlete’s Life

Working in health care we are often faced with making quick decisions that will impact our patients for the rest of their lives. We are trained to have these skills in “worst-case scenarios”, though we hope to never have to use them.

August in the south means that the Football year has kicked off and training and scrimmages are in full swing. The Optim Sports Medicine program offers Certified Athletic Trainers to be on the fields of over 20 schools in southeast Georgia. A few weeks ago in Statesboro, those quick decisions that are deeply ingrained in our employees, came into play for two of our Athletic Trainers.

There was a scrimmage football game between Statesboro High School and Southeast Bulloch High School, which are covered by our Athletic Trainers, Rachel Leitz (at SHS) and Von Miller (at SEB). During the scrimmage a SHS player jumped up to catch a pass and was hit by two defenders at the same time. He fell to the ground, immediately got up, took two steps, and then fell face first onto the field. Von instinctively ran out to him because he’d noticed when he stood up initially, his hands had a distinct curl to them, which indicated that he might be having a seizure. Rachel followed right behind Von as he stabilized his head. The athlete was unresponsive.

They rolled the athlete onto his back and then proceeded to remove his shoulder pads. He experienced some convulsions and a possible seizure so Von and Rachel quickly attached an AED and delivered one charge. They then began CPR and thankfully the athlete began to breathe on his own. EMS arrived shortly after he started breathing and they all worked

together to stabilize him on the spine board. He was transported to East Georgia Regional Medical Center and was later flown by helicopter to Memorial in Savannah.

Chloe Salway (Rachel’s Georgia Southern University’s graduate assistant) accompanied the athlete during transport and was able to talk to the parents at the hospital along with Don Aaron, MD. It was determined the athlete was hit in a way that made his heart stop from the impact and suffered a concussion. The Doctor said that Von and Rachel’s quick thinking and response to administer the AED and give CPR, was what saved this athletes life.

He was kept for observation in hospital and was released after a few days. We are thrilled learn that today, he is doing very well and although he was not cleared to play football this year, he is anxious to get back on the playing field. Thank you to Rachel, Von, and all of the Optim Athletic Trainers for keeping our student athletes safe throughout the school year.

“I never considered that the student was on the opposing team and wasn’t my player. I just considered he was hurt and needed help fast, so I did. I’m also a father, and I would want someone to do the same for my son”, said Miller.

“As a Certified Athletic Trainer, we train for these types of events and practice continuously, hoping we never actually have to use these skills. I am just so thankful that Von and I were able to react quickly and appropriately and have a positive outcome!” said Leitz