At the NCAA convention, which was held from Jan. 14-17, a resolution was passed requiring all Division III head coaches to be certified in CPR and automatic external defibrillator (AED) use. The requirement will take effect on Aug. 1, 2009, but some schools, such as Wesleyan, have already taken the initiative to train their coaches in CPR and first aid procedures.
Most coaches hope to never find themselves in a situation in which it is necessary to perform these life-saving procedures. But that’s exactly what happened to wrestling coach Drew Black on Friday afternoon.
Black was in the Andersen Fitness Center on Friday working out before his 1:10 Introduction to Strength Training class when Chester Arnold ’77, who was running on one of the fitness center’s treadmills at the time, collapsed and lost consciousness. Black and student Jamal Ahmed ’09, who was in the fitness center at the time, immediately rushed to Arnold and evaluated his condition. Arnold was not breathing and had no pulse, so Black and Ahmed retrieved the automatic external defibrillator (AED) outside the fitness center and set to work on Arnold.
Ahmed delivered a shock from the defibrillator to Arnold, who was still unresponsive, so Ahmed began to perform CPR. After two rounds of CPR—each consisting of 30 chest compressions and two breaths into Arnold’s mouth—Arnold regained consciousness and began gasping for air.
“He couldn’t say anything—couldn’t talk,” said Black. “I’m sure he could hear us.”
Arnold then lost his pulse again, causing Black to deliver another shock from the defibrillator. Black then performed a series of chest compressions and attempted to deliver two breaths, but he was unable to open Arnold’s mouth.
“His mouth was cemented shut,” said Black. “Jamal was like, ‘Modified jaw thrust! Modified jaw thrust,’ a thing that you do especially with someone who has had a head injury—you don’t move the neck. As he’s trying to do that, I retilted the head and pulled the mouth open.”
“It’s so much different from a mannequin to a live person, whether the air really went in or not,” said Black. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done it on a person.”
As Ahmed was performing more chest compressions, Arnold again regained consciousness and again began gasping for air.
“The second time he came through, his hand came up,” said Black. “I grabbed his hand, and I just said, ‘Stay with us. You’re here, stay with us. You’re going to be fine.’ As I was doing that, the EMTs got there.”
The medical technicians placed an oxygen mask on Arnold and checked his vital signs. Arnold was taken to Middlesex Hospital and later transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“[The EMTs] just said, ‘Hey, you guys did a great job,’” said Black.