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Hockey Player Uses EMT Skills to Help Injured Teammates

SOUTHHAVEN, Miss. -- In the locker room, hockey players are a band of brothers.

It's the same way on the ice. So when Mississippi RiverKings' center Chevan Wilson recently saw a team member take a puck to the leg, it wasn't something he skated away from.

"Once you go to school for it, you can't really turn it off," he said. "I see somebody get hurt ... your interest is piqued right away. You want to know what's going on -- you want to be involved."

It's a mentality that has made sense ever since the 26-year-old Wilson became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician and firefighter. He received his certification from one of the two 10-month, advanced programs in North America.

"It's the only one offered in Canada (Edmonton)," said Wilson. "The other one's at Texas A&M (College Station). They have a big school there."

Having two shots at the licensing exam, Wilson, a St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, native, passed on his first attempt.

"It's just a big deal, because the test isn't offered very often," he said. "There's two scenarios, one medical and one trauma. It could be a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, where you just walk in and you react to the situation. If you don't do it right, it's an automatic fail and you start all over."

At the urging of former Northern Alberta Institute of Technology teammate Jeff Topilko, Wilson signed a three-day tryout with the RiverKings, who play in the Southern Professional Hockey League, on Jan. 13. His performance impressed coach Derek Landmesser enough that he signed an official contract eight days later. Heading into Tuesday's game at Louisiana, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Wilson had three goals and 10 assists for 13 points.

"He's going to get a job where within a couple of years, he's going to make six figures," said Landmesser, "but obviously he's still got that love for the game. He's just a fantastic kid. He brings a lot to our locker room."

The process of studying for the exam was stressful, according to Wilson, yet hockey provided a beneficial comfort zone.

"When you're on the ice, you don't worry about anything else than what's between the boards," he said. "That's kind of a nice feeling out there, but at the same time, I was a long ways away from any help, any of my other classmates. So I had to be extremely self-disciplined in my study, and I'm just really happy it went well."

Wilson's current profession and his future career have similarities.

"You have to go in each day focused, have that high level of concentration and then be able to go home and turn it off," he said. "That's very relative to what we do here (at the arena). We're expected to perform for 60 minutes under extreme pressure.

"The aspect that I enjoy is dealing with the people. Generally, they don't call the ambulance on the best day of their life; it's normally the worst. You're walking into a situation where you need to be calm, confident and reassuring - in your skills, knowledge and just simply being there for you patient."



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