By Joel Delgado ’12, MS ’17
Alex Taylor, a first-year graduate assistant athletic trainer at FIU Athletics, is used to springing into action on the playing field. But last month, he found himself responding to a medical emergency in a completely different environment.
During a recent road trip, women’s soccer team made a stop in Lexington, Kentucky, to grab lunch on their way to a road match against Western Kentucky.
Standing outside the restaurant with one of the assistant coaches while most of the team was inside ordering their food, Taylor, who was traveling with the team, saw a woman in her late 20s stand up from her table and promptly fall to the ground. He immediately went into the restaurant to offer his help.
While a restaurant staff member called 911, Taylor introduced himself and began to conduct a quick evaluation of her condition in an effort to get her stabilized until the paramedics arrived.
First, Taylor and the friend rolled her over and removed some food that was in her mouth. Once the woman’s seizure subsided, Taylor started to ask her a series of simple questions and commands: “Can you squeeze my fingers? Do you know where you are? What’s your name?”
Once she regained a certain level of consciousness, Taylor began looking for any secondary injuries.
“She did fall, so you look for head injuries first and then for any other bone injuries – like a broken arm or something similar,” Taylor said.
The last thing Taylor checked for was sensory input, to make sure she was able to feel certain sensations.
When the paramedics arrived, they ran through their own procedures, checking her vitals, getting her medical history and then discharging her.
Before the woman and her friend left, Taylor provided them with his contact information in case they had any questions or wanted to provide an update on how she was doing. They thanked him and the restaurant staff for stepping in and helping.
After about 15 minutes, it was all over.
His advice for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation is to not be afraid to jump in and offer help.
“Situations like this, whether it’s situation in restaurant or athlete going down on the field, I approach it as a learning experience,” Taylor says. “Thankfully, everything turned out well. It’s unfortunate that this is how a lot of learning and experience happens, but that’s how I approach it.”