Bruins fan helps save man's life at practice

Bruins fan helps save man's life at practice
January 18, 2013, 12:46 am
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WILMINGTON, MA Real life collided with the joy of sports on Thursday morning at Bruins training camp as a fan in the Ristuccia Arena stands was removed by emergency medical personnel on a stretcher after collapsing prior to the start of practice.
An off-duty EMT with the Concord Police Department and the Littleton Fire Department, Terry Gardner, was sitting nearby with a few friends about to take in the practice, but he immediately sprung into action along with an off-duty Wilmington police officer right behind him. Bruins trainers Don DelNegro and Derek Repucci also reported to the scene along with several Wilmington police and Fire Department officials and assisted in the individuals emergency treatment for an apparent heart attack.   
I was here with a couple of buddies just watching practice. I heard somebody yell somebody call 911 and I went up and saw a man that was having some labored, erratic breathing. I pulled him down to the floor and I was joined by an off-duty officer, said Gardner. He appeared pulse-less, so at that time I started chest compressions and he started ventilation while yelling for a defibrillator. At that point we delivered one shock, continued CPR and he became more responsive.
He appeared to be responding to stimuli on his way out, he had a pulse and appeared he was breathing. Those were all good signs that he was in better condition than when we found him. It was definitely a little weird having the Bruins watching me give somebody medical attention than me watching them do their thing at practice.
Gardner indicated the individual was going through some kind of cardiac episode that first appeared to be a possible seizure, and CPR was administered as the full arena crowd watched in shock silence. The practice immediately stopped as Bruins players took a knee to solemnly watch the scene as police officer, firefighters and medical personnel began to work on the fallen individual before transporting him to a local hospital via ambulance.  
The last thing they needed was to hear pucks banging on the glass," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "Out of respect, we just let them do their job.
The EMTs called for the defibrillator stored at Ristuccia Arena, and Gardner indicated they were able to stabilize the individual before carrying down through the stands and wheeling him to the ambulance. Having a defibrillator at a venue like Ristuccia can often be the difference between life or death when heart issues are involved.
The quicker you can do CPR the better in a situation like that... seconds absolutely count, said Gardner. For the situation he had, it happened in a pretty good place. They had the defibrillator on scene, which probably made a world of difference for him. If this happened at home, it might not have been such a good outcome.
There was no word on the mans condition as of Thursday afternoon, but the Bruins players had plenty of appreciation for the quick-acting Bruins fans and first responders that literally saved the mans life.
We were skating around and noticed some people standing up and a big crowd surrounding somebody up there. You dont want to get all sentimental about stuff like this, but it really does put everything else in perspective about how fragile life is, said Bs center Gregory Campbell, who was so interested in police-work that he went for ride-alongs with the Boston Police during the lockout. It takes heroic people to do what they do. It takes a certain type of person to be able to act under pressure like that. Its not pressure that we deal with on a daily basis; its life or death. Thats the most important kind of pressure to operate under.
I have a huge appreciation for how brave and courageous the first responders are; even Donnie DelNegro for going up there and lending a hand. When terrible things like that happen, its important that people come together and help find a solution.
There was no word on the mans condition as of Thursday afternoon after he was rushed away from Ristuccia via ambulance.