Jessica Campbell, 31, used an automated external defibrillator to help resuscitate a 56-year old man who had collapsed and suffered sudden cardiac arrest at LA Galaxy Soccer Center in Torrance, Wednesday, April 11.
In a warehouse of indoor soccer fields, where hundreds visit each day to hone their skills or play friendly matches, the biggest save of the day on Wednesday came not from a goalkeeper, but a 31-year old general manager. Because of the quick work of Jessica Campbell, who has worked at the center since 2010, a 56-year old man is recovering in the hospital after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while playing soccer on one of the center’s indoor fields.
Campbell was sitting at her desk doing office work when a longtime client rushed in and said a man had suddenly collapsed on one of the fields. The client also told the front desk to call 911. Equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator, Campbell sprang into action and immediately attended to the man, who visits the facility twice per week.
“At that point, instinct kicks in,” Campbell, a Manhattan Beach resident, said. “You stop thinking and go straight into what you were trained to do.”
Campbell ran to the field and prepared the defibrillator while a group of about 10 people helped raise the victim’s shirt, exposing his chest. The device guided Campbell through the procedure. Diagrams pointed to where the two pads were to be placed on the chest and the device monitored the victim’s condition before sending a message to Campbell to apply a shock.
The initial shock came 90 seconds after Campbell was told the man had collapsed. After the shock, the device monitors the victim for 90 seconds. Campbell began applying compressions and went to deliver mouth-to-mouth, but noticed the man’s tongue blocking his airway. Thinking quickly, she pinched his nose, which got him to start breathing. Shortly afterwards, a nurse, who was watching her son practice, came over and asked if Campbell needed help. “The entire time, I was just thinking, ‘Please don’t die,'” Campbell said. The nurse applied more compressions and the man fully came to. By the time paramedics arrived two minutes later, the victim was fully alert and answering questions posed by the nurse about his health. Campbell could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“It was very emotional, I just needed to go to a room and cry,” she said. “I’m so thankful he was okay.”
The man was transported to a local hospital for surgery and is in recovery, operations manager James Vye, 42, said Thursday. He added that while most of the staff is trained, he would like to see more trainees on the off chance they need to use the AED again.
Steve Treskes, assistant fire chief with the Torrance Fire Department, was impressed by Campbell’s efforts to revive the man before paramedics arrived. “It was a legitimate save with an AED and something we don’t see very often,” Treskes said. “We’re kind of amazed at the work she was able to do.”
Campbell’s only experience with the defibrillator outside of training was checking the device monthly to make sure it worked and the batteries weren’t dead. “It’s so tedious,” Campbell said. “But after that event, I’m glad I did it. I’ll never take it for granted.” Employees at the center go through CPR and AED training once every two years. The device has been available at the center since 2012, Vye said. It was the first time employees had to put their training to use.
“It works,” Vye added. “It saves lives, so the training is worth it to see a guy go back to his family. It’s the best outcome we could have hoped for.”