California coach saves player with Heimlich maneuver during game

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

For most of his professional life, Greg Venger has referred to by one name: Coach. Now, after a frightening incident in his team's dugout, he may have earned a new noun (or pronoun, if you'd rather): Hero.

Reseda Cleveland baseball coach Greg Venger — Cleveland Baseball
Reseda Cleveland baseball coach Greg Venger — Cleveland Baseball

As noted by the Los Angeles Times, Reseda (Calif.) Cleveland High baseball coach Greg Venger had to lean back on his first aid training when one of his players had a seizure in his team's dugout during one of the games in a doubleheader against Encino (Calif.) Crespi High (Cleveland won the first game, 12-1, while Crespi captured the second half of the twin bill, 6-2). While it was not made immediately clear what caused the player's seizure, the player was already sitting out that game because he had been sick.

While the unidentified player's seizure may have more than frightening enough on its own, the more dangerous aspect of the incident came immediately thereafter, when he began choking on the sunflower seeds he had been chewing on when the stroke first hit.

Without any time to consider contemplate a plan of action, Venger took over himself. Someone on site called 911 while Venger swooped in to provide aid, swiftly and cleanly employing the Heimlich maneuver.

Luckily for coach and player, the Heimlich worked perfectly, much to everyone's relief. In fact, the entire life saving episode went so smoothly that the player in question was back in school two days later after the finish of the weekend.

One can only owner what might have befallen the stricken player if his coach or someone else permanently on hand hand't been fully trained and certified in first aid. Venger was, and that may have made all the difference in the world when it came to saving the life of one of his athletes.

"My CPR and first-aid training definitely came in handy," Venger told the Times.

That much is clear. In fact, Venger's heroic reactions may be the best proof yet of precisely why states have made training all coaches in emergency first aid techniques is so important.

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