A routine fitness workout ironically turned out to be a life-or-death experience for one of its participants.
Fortunately, the tragedy was averted thanks to the prompt action and teamwork by the man’s coach and fellow gym members.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ronald Ebert, 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, was leading a workout at his local gym on June 1, 2020, when one of the participants suddenly collapsed and fell to the floor.
At first, Ebert, a fitness coach and an avid regular runner, thought the man had “just passed out,” reported National Guard. But when the man remained still and unmoving for a few seconds, Ebert, together with some of his fellow gym members, sprang into action.
They tried to rouse the man by “fanning and rubbing his chest,” said Ebert’s wife, Alison, who usually accompanies him in leading workouts.
That did not work, as the man remained unresponsive, and then he started to convulse slightly. Alarmed, they called 911 and continued their efforts, the report said.
But as seconds ticked by, the man’s condition continued to deteriorate.
“His pulse began to thread and then could no longer be found,” said Alison.
Amongst those present were a nurse and medical student, and they started giving him CPR chest compressions. However, the first aid kit they had did not include a mask for giving rescue breaths.
Ebert, as a former first sergeant for the 140th Medical Group, had also gone through the same CPR course taken by medical personnel. He immediately decided to begin administering mouth-to-mouth without hesitation.
“The guy needed oxygen, and I had the opportunity to help,” Ebert said.
When emergency responders finally arrived, they revived the man and took him to the hospital. He was later diagnosed as having suffered a heart attack.
Ebert said that according to the doctors, the man only had a 5 percent chance of survival in that type of situation.
“He was very fortunate to have trained people around him who didn’t hesitate to respond quickly.”
Alison said, “Every person who was there contributed, whether it was directly administering to the patient or putting weights away so the paramedics would have a clear path.”
“The family was extremely thankful that CPR was initiated so quickly,” Alison said, “because it likely saved the gentleman’s life.”
According to the American Heart Association, out of the more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, about 90 percent of them are fatal. Administering CPR immediately can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
Fortunately, in this case, the man survived. The man visited the gym a few days ago; Ebert said it was good to see him, the National Guard reported.
Reflecting on the life-saving encounter, Alison said that Ebert displayed “commendable” leadership the whole time.
“There was never any panic or hysteria,” she said.
Ebert credited his military background for his ability to rise to the occasion.
“Thanks to my military training and experience, I was better able to stay calm and trust my training,” he said.
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