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Big League Stew

Cameraman dies despite heroic effort from Nationals trainers

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz (middle). (USA Today)

A critical medical emergency that played out in the Turner Field media room on Wednesday afternoon had a more hopeful outlook thanks to the quick actions of Washington Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and his training assistant John Hsu.

According to Comcast Sports Net Washington's Mark Zuckerman, a local cameraman, Reuben Porras, who was working an assignment for MLB Network, collapsed while preparing for the evening's game between the visiting Nationals and the home standing Atlanta Braves and required immediate medical attention after suffering what appeared to be a heart attack.

Kuntz and Hsu, who were hanging out in the visiting weight room underneath the stadium at the time, were alerted to situation by someone running down the hallway looking for assistance. They responded immediately and instinctively.

Kuntz and Hsu grabbed an automated external defibrillator that had only been installed in the visiting clubhouse a week ago and rushed to the aid of the man, who had lost consciousness and wasn't breathing. Kuntz used the AED machine and CPR to revive the man, then waited for paramedics to arrive.

Sadly, despite their heroic efforts, Porras died shortly after being transported to an Atlanta area hospital. He was 61.

They say timing is everything. The recent installation of the external defibrillator was a good move by the staff at Turner Field, and likely played an important role in giving Kuntz and Hsu a chance to revive Mr. Porras and potentially save his life. Of course the quick thinking and immediate response by both men were equally important, and we're happy to know two men with excellent training and expertise were in a position where they could give the gentleman the best possible care under the circumstances.

As Kuntz later noted, the entire Nationals training staff receives CPR training each spring, so they're always prepared to act. However, it's the first time he'd needed to use the CPR training at the ballpark. We're sure he hopes it's the last, as well.

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