Student athlete: You need to put their knees up.
Student athlete: No. No. No. Compressions.
Student athlete: Yea. We need to do compressions.
Scott: These student athletes are learning skills that could mean the difference between life and death.
Thomas Mallon: They get trained in head and neck injuries, sudden cardiac arrest, heat illness, diabetes, asthma. And then the Red Cross actually comes in and CPR-certifies and AED-certifies all the kids. So, that is thirty kids on the field; that is thirty kids in the classroom; that is thirty kids in the mall; that is thirty kids that know how to do CPR and can save a life anywhere.
Scott: It is called Athletes Saving Athletes, a program Thomas and his mom started after he was catastrophically injured during a high school lacrosse game.
Thomas: I was running for a ground ball, and an opposing player was also running for the ground ball, and we just collided head on, and, um, I went down. The hit didn’t actually look bad; I mean if you look in the video it didn’t look bad, no one on the sidelines thought it looked bad. I actually wanted to get up when it happened, but my athletic trainer made me stay down, and essentially saved my life, so…
Scott: Thomas spent weeks visiting doctors and specialists, and more than a month in what is called a halo, a device that held his neck still, allowing it to heal. While he was in recovery, Thomas’s mom came up with the idea to start a program to help injured athletes.
Thomas: She didn’t really know how to deal with me being in the hospital. And, so, she decided that something needs to be done and athletic trainers need to be everywhere ’cause that’s what saved my life.
Scott: She isn’t the only one worried. About 8,000 young people are taken to the emergency room every day because of sports related injuries. Many experts say most of those trips could be avoided.
The goal of Athletes Saving Athletes, or ASA, is to teach young people to recognize the signs of life-threatening injuries and conditions.
Sam Villa: What we’d like these kids to do is to educate. We want to get the knowledge out there, to report the injury, and to get help as quickly as possible.
Scott: After his injury, doctors told Thomas he would not be able to play contact sports again. That also meant he had to say goodbye to his lacrosse scholarship. An outcome he says he’s okay with.
Thomas: Because I’m living. I go to a great university. I’m able to do this, what we’re doing now. Yeah, and I can still do things that I like to do. I just can’t play lacrosse anymore.
Scott: You are taking an injury that could have potentially ended your life and then potentially saving the lives of countless others.
Thomas: Yeah. And that’s kind of why we’re doing because my life was saved. I feel like I kind of have this duty to give back to other high school students.
Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.