January 6, 2023

Local trainer at San Diego Mesa College reflects on own life-saving CPR moment following Damar Hamlin situation

By Jennifer Kearns

Timothy Fischer

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A sigh of relief for the nation on Thursday after hearing that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is awake and recovering following a cardiac arrest incident during Monday Night Football.


"Seeing that on TV definitely made me think back to one of our staff members Yuki and the great job he did to save a life, literally,” Timothy Fischer, the head athletic trainer at San Diego Mesa College, said


It was last September when Matsuzawa performed CPR on an elderly athlete at a track event on San Diego Mesa College's campus.


"It was a heart attack. He stopped breathing, heartbeat for like one minute and I applied AED, CPR and thankfully he came back to normal,” Matsuzawa said


He hopes that with his efforts and that of those during Monday’s game can emphasize what these trainers do.


"We have more than like tapping, stretching, icing. We have like an emergency action plan, so we are prepared for any situations for example like cardiac arrest,” Matsuzawa said.


Hamlin's physicians in Cincinnati credit this type of life-saving skill for saving his life.


Something Fischer said was similarly echoed in Matsuzawa’s case too.


"It made me think and be proud of Yuki and our staff to recognize a situation, apply CPR and AED correctly. And to have San Diego Fire and Rescue come back and say it was his quality CPR and one shock of the AED that brought this man back,” Fischer said.


It shows that training and practice can mean the same for athletes as it does for those tasked with caring for them.


"Sports are a little dangerous like so many injuries, so many things happen to the sports. But if an athletic trainer is over there, they feel like oh if something happens, they can help us,” Matsuzawa said.


"And no doubt those athletic trainers from both sides acted with the EMTs and the ambulance crews to resuscitate him, get him to the hospital and now, the doctors have the hard work to help him recover,” Fischer said.


San Diego County said many organizations like the American Heart Association and the YMCA provide CPR certification courses.


About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive college committed to equity and excellence. We honor our diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, access, and innovation in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future. Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa serves 25,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree in Health Information Management. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and a Military Friendly School, serving nearly 2,500 veterans and their families.


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