A junior at East Greenwich High School collapsed during volleyball practice Monday and had to be taken by rescue to the hospital. He remains in intensive care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
The high school’s athletic trainer, Tim Crandall, attended the student before rescue arrived and used a defibrillator when the student’s condition worsened. According to Athletic Director Chris Cobain, in this worst-case scenario, everyone from Crandall to the coaches to the athletes to police and fire were “as calm as possible, as focused as possible under the circumstances.”
Volleyball assistant coach Mike Penza first noticed the student did not appear to be well. He started talking to the student and was holding on to him when the student’s condition worsened, Cobain said. A student fetched Crandall, who was in his office – a room at the back of the gym.
“At that time, he made the call that things needed to move at a very rapid pace,” Cobain said of Crandall. Rescue was called, the room was cleared, and a student was sent to retrieve the defibrillator (AED) in Crandall’s office. “Crandall immediately went into the protocols and procedures of what to do to take care of a person who’s down and is becoming unresponsive,” Cobain said. He said he does not know of any previous incident of an AED being used at the school. All public buildings in town are equipped with AED devices.
Crandall’s work day at the high school begins at 2 p.m. and he stays through the last practice or game of the day or evening. His office is located so he has fast access to the fields and the two gyms.
Cobain said Crandall, who has been the athletic trainer at EGHS for more than six years, has experience with crisis situations, having served as an EMT in Trumbull, Conn., during his teen years.
“His background and experience in athletic injuries is substantial. His experience around very stressful situations … he’s been in the thick of it. When the EG fire and rescue came running through the door he, at an earlier time of life, was one of them,” said Cobain. “We’re very fortunate, we’re very fortunate for that.”
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