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Student athletes learn the ropes on CPR safety

Coupeville student athletes practice how to perform CPR during a training exercise held by local emergency response personnel. - Nathan Whalen photo
Coupeville student athletes practice how to perform CPR during a training exercise held by local emergency response personnel.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

Dozens of student athletes last week got a lesson in how to provide life-saving treatment in the event someone collapses.

Firefighters and EMTs from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Whidbey General EMS showed athletes competing for Coupeville Middle and High School the basics of performing CPR and how to use the automatic external defibrillators that are available on school district property.

More than 100 student athletes took a break from practices Oct. 2 to learn the emergency techniques.

Jon Gabelein, a firefighter with South Whidbey and a fourth-grade teacher at Coupeville Elementary School, said the goal of the presentation is to make the students more comfortable with CPR and how to administer the defibrillator.

Lori Stolee, athletic director for the Coupeville School District,  said the skills are important for the student especially if an athlete collapses during practice or during a game.

After a brief presentation by area firefighters, the students went onto the gym floor to practice chest compressions on the dozens of demonstration dummies while the disco staple “Staying Alive” blared.

The exercise hit home for junior Marisa Etzell, a junior who competes on the soccer team.

She said she discovered while participating in a free screening that she had a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

She said if she had an emergency, she would like her friends to step up and help.

Her brother, Ben, said the presentation was a good opportunity for the athletes.

“It’s going to be in the back of their heads,” Etzell said of the skills they learned.

The half-hour long presentation was the first time such an event took place at the high school in recent years.

Gabelein said he hopes to give the presentation to other schools in the area.

“Once we get our show down today, then we can go on the road,” Gabelein said.

 

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