Three Athletic Training students didn’t think twice when they witnessed a real-life emergency on campus – they immediately jumped into action, providing emergency care.
James Lupinski, Kelly Whitney-Babcock and Kelsey Uno, all Level 2 Athletic Training students in the CPHHS, were studying for a final in the Memorial Union when they heard a ruckus nearby. When they went to see what happened, they say they found students helping a friend – who apparently had just lost consciousness – back to his feet. That’s when their instincts kicked in.
“We asked what happened and they said he collapsed and hit his head really hard,” James says. “Anytime you hear ‘head injury,’ you know not to move them. Since they had already brought him to his feet, we grabbed him a chair and sat him down and started asking him some questions.”
The three say they took on their own emergency care roles at that time – James checked for bleeding and cleared the crowd, Kelsey called 911 and Kelly administered a neurological assessment – all techniques learned in their Athletic Training courses.
“That’s what we do over and over and over again in the program, so it was just our motor memory kicking in,” Kelly says. “Getting a set rhythm down making sure that everything’s checked off as you go through. We knew what needed to be done and we just went through the steps.”
“It was kind of beat into our brains, we just went into action without even thinking about it,” James says.
The three say the victim proceeded to vomit and go in and out of consciousness. They say they immediately put him on the ground in a recovery position on his side while they cradled his neck to prevent further injury.
Within minutes, the Corvallis Fire Department arrived and carried the victim away on a stretcher. Due to confidentiality restraints, the CPHHS was unable to confirm the victim’s condition.
All three Athletic Training students say they feel they provided the best care they could based on their training in the program.
“Other people were just watching and not doing anything, and I think just because we knew what we were doing is why we helped,” Kelsey says. “I feel if I hadn’t taken those classes I wouldn’t have known what to do except to call 911. I feel like we did everything we could have done and I’m proud of us. I also have more confidence now that I can handle myself in that sort of situation in the future.”
“The whole AT program is about being close and being a team, and that’s exactly what we did and we didn’t even need to think about it,” James says. “I like to think we made a difference, but I wish we knew for sure. I at least think we prevented it from being any worse than it could have been.”
“It was a really good validation of what we’ve been learning, everything came super easy for us, there was no stopping or having to think about what to do, there was no panicking, we all stayed very cool and calm and we knew we could do it,” Kelly says.
After graduation, James plans on continuing his studies in grad school and eventually becoming a collegiate athletic trainer; Kelly would like to attend grad school and eventually work as an athletic trainer with either a college or professional rodeo; and Kelsey plans on taking some time off before grad school and possibly obtaining an EMS certification.