San Diego - On Sunday, September 18, 2022, San Diego Mesa College Athletic Trainer
and alumnus, Yuki Matsuzawa, along with two students and a coach, helped save the
life of a 66 year old athlete, who collapsed on field after his event during the annual
Senior Games Track Meet held on campus at Merrill Douglas Stadium.
When the senior runner collapsed, Mesa Student-Athletes - who were closest to the
participant - ran over to help first. Student-Athletes Sidney Garcia and Azucena Hernandez
immediately called 911, and ran to get Yuki Matsuzawa, the Mesa College Certified
Athletic Trainer for the event, for additional medical aid. Upon arrival, Yuki checked
for responsiveness and breathing. The man was initially breathing, but disoriented
and barely responsive. While trying to get more information and communicate with the
man, Yuki noticed that he had stopped breathing and no longer had a pulse.
Yuki immediately applied the AED and began chest compressions for CPR, and ensured
that EMS personnel were on their way from the previous 911 call. Yuki continued CPR
for one minute until the AED advised for a shock, which Yuki applied after ensuring
everyone was clear of the patient. Yuki continued CPR for another minute until the
man began breathing again and regained consciousness. Coach Sean Ricketts and others
followed Mesa’s Emergency Action Plan and helped guide the paramedics and firefighters
through the gates and onto the track. The EMS crew took over from there and the senior
was stabilized and recovering at Sharp Hospital later that day.
According to coaching staff, Yuki Matsuzawa's swift actions and emergency medical
training as a Certified Athletic Trainer undoubtedly saved this man's life. The senior
runner has recovered well and even earned a medal, placing second in the Men’s 65-69
On Monday, Senior Games Commissioner, Gary MacDonald stated in a note to Trainer Matsuzawa,
“You did an outstanding job coordinating the emergency care that he needed Yuki. I’m
glad to hear he is ok. One of the EMT’s told me that what you and the others did prior
to their getting on-site saved this man’s life! You are indeed a hero and life-saver!
I am grateful that you were the Athletic Trainer for this year’s Senior Games. Thank
you for everything you did yesterday.”
Yuki, along with the student-athlete volunteers have been commended and recognized
by President Ashanti Hands for their quick response and the high-quality medical care
provided during the event.
“Yuki, Sidney, Azucena, and Sean are shining examples of the beauty of doing the right
thing, at the right time. The instinct and care they displayed speak to their humanity
and is proof that as people, our presence matters. They were there with a purpose
and their presence saved a life,” stated President Hands. “They represent Mesa’s commitment
to excellence and we are so proud and thankful for how they chose to show up, in service
of others on that day.”
This situation, and Yuki’s actions speak to the importance of having Certified Athletic
Trainers (ATC’s) present at all athletic events. ATC’s are highly qualified healthcare
providers trained in emergency preparedness and response, ready and willing to provide
care and serve the needs of our students, athletes, staff and community.
Tags: Exercise Science, Athletic Training