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Athletic Trainer Helps Save Football Official’s Life

Jason Scott

A fast-acting athletic trainer is being credited with helping to save the life of a football official who collapsed on the field last month.

Fox 4 News reports that Dennis Bennett, a high school football official of 40 years, collapsed in the final moments of an Oct. 18 contest between Celina (Texas) and Melissa High Schools. 

“I placed the ball back down on the ground,” Bennett recalled, “The next thing I knew the EMS was standing over the top of me.”

Melissa ISD athletic trainer Jose Mendez sprang into action, calling to a student assistant to bring him the AED. 

“You actually gasped for air one last time, and then you were not breathing,” Mendez told Bennett.

Dr. Andrew Parker, an orthopedic surgeon, happened to be volunteering on the sidelines during Bennett’s collapse, and told Fox 4 that Bennett was not responsive and had a very weak pulse. 

“I guess I was dead for a second or two,” Bennett told Fox 4. “Sudden cardiac death.”

Mendez administered a shock with the AED, and Parker gave Bennett chest compressions. After 30 compressions, Bennett became responsive again. 

He was lucky. According to the American Heart Association, the odds of someone surviving cardiac arrest decrease 10 percent each minute without CPR. 

Texas law requires that each school campus be equipped with at least one AED, according to the Dallas News

Bennett had a chance to meet his heroes at an event on Wednesday. He’ll be back on the football field officiating a playoff game on Thursday. 

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