Paramedics Greg Rodevick and Rich Eldridge got themselves and their equipment in place at Raleigh’s PNC Arena on Saturday December 2, with a simple plan of having a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and standing by courtside for EMS coverage at the N.C. State Wolfpack men’s basketball game as they hosted the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
Things changed quickly. Not long into the game, they were called over for an N.C. State player with an apparent knee injury. As they approached, determining if they would need to bring their stretcher over, they were interrupted by commotion over on the South Carolina State bench.
They were quickly diverted from the knee injury to what was obviously a critical emergency. What may have appeared on the surface to be chaos at the bench was actually an outstanding example of what should happen anytime someone collapses and goes unresponsive.
South Carolina State Athletic Trainer Tyler Long was immediately down and providing hard, fast, uninterrupted chest compressions on this lifeless basketball player who had just stopped breathing. N.C. State keeps an AED at the bench, and S.C. State staff had grabbed it and were getting it applied.
Greg and Rich worked in and began leading care. A shock was delivered by the AED, but pulses weren’t immediately detectable afterward, and compressions were continued. Within a few moments, they were able to find a pulse as they switched over to the EMS heart monitor.
Not long after, the young man was awake and talking with the crew and team.
Wake County EMS 18 had arrived, and care was transferred to Justin Miracle, John Porter, and Brandon Kaupa for transport to Rex Hospital. They were assisted by District Chief Benji Currie.
Greg and Rich remained in place covering the game when it resumed. But they were able to get to Rex and talk face-to-face with S.C. State player Ty Solomon just after the game.
S.C. State Head Coach Murray Garvin stuck by Ty’s side throughout the entire incident. He remained there as our crews visited, and was very thankful that so many people came together so quickly when it counted.
Greg and Rich will be the first to tell you that this success was built on preparation and cooperation by a lot of people and agencies.
Three nights prior, Wake County EMS had just done a pre-game CPR demo for the NCSU/Penn State basketball game, where approximately ten of their staff and their children were demonstrating hands-only CPR while our mascot Pete the Paramedic Panda danced around. In the demonstration, the panda collapses, and NCSU’s mascot does compressions on him to resuscitate.