Athletic Trainer Saves Soccer Coach After Heart Attack

Brock Fritz Headshot

A girls’ soccer coach in California was saved by an athletic trainer after collapsing on the sideline Wednesday night.

Brian Bordier, 44, was coaching California High School during a CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinal at Charter Oak when he had an apparent heart attack, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Charter Oak athletic trainer Matt Simok responded, performing CPR and using an AED to stabilize Bordier before paramedics arrived.

“The first thing I wanted to do was establish consciousness, to see what was going on, and at the time he was convulsing, it appeared,” Simok told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “He had a lot of trouble breathing. I checked his vitals and he had a pulse, but he had labored breathing, so I was trying to make sure he was stabilized.

“I got out my sling bag to get my light to check his pupil dilation and when I got to his left eye his pupils blew out and he went limp in my arms. At that time, I realized this was going to get real serious.”

Simok teaches sports medicine at Charter Oak, and, according to the Valley Tribune’s Fred J. Robledo, was joined Wednesday by six students from his class, as well as Charter Oak athletic director Dominic Farrar.

“My student-athlete medicine interns know what to do in that situation, so as soon as I started CPR, I got through about one cycle of 30 compressions and by that time the AED was ready to go,” Simok said. “We put the AED on the body, followed the prompts, hit the shock button and he was shocked back to life and at that time was responsive to me. He looked at my eyes and he was breathing and we stabilized him until the paramedics arrived.”

“I believe it is so vital to have professionals and the necessary equipment ready to go, and Matt and I have gone through and rehearsed this situation many times so we were prepared for the emergency,” said Farrar, who was on the phone with a 911 operator while Simok worked.

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California athletic director James Arnold said that Bordier, who gave a thumbs up before being put in the ambulance, was still undergoing tests at Inter-Community Hospital in Covina on Thursday.

“Lucky that the medical staff at Charter Oak responded the way they did,” Arnold said. “It could have been bad. They deserve all the credit.”

“I’m on the mend and hope to be home on Saturday,” Bordier said in a text message, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “I’m just to thankful they were there. The outcome could have been a lot different without them. Not only their training staff but also having the AED on the field was a lifesaver … literally.”

Charter Oak won 5-4 in penalty kicks in a game that was tied 1-1 after regulation and two overtimes.

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California is the only state that doesn’t provide title protection for athletic trainers, while a November study found that 34 percent of United States high schools have no access to athletic trainers. The California Athletic Trainer’s Association has introduced AB 1592, a bill that would license athletic trainers.

“This is a bill we will continue to support because California is the only state in the United States that does not license athletic trainers,” CIF State Executive Director Ron Nocetti said. “For our schools, for them, it’s imperative they know the people we’re putting in front of the student-athletes, the coaches and officials are people licensed by the state of California so we have the most competent people in charge during an emergency situation.”

“We’ve been trying to get this legislation passed for over 20 years now,” Simok said. “Essentially, there is nothing to define what an athletic trainer is, whereas if you’re a nurse or a doctor you have to provide your credentials.

“So, some 18-year-old kid out of high school can say ‘I’m an athletic trainer’ and a school could legally hire him to perform that function. So, it’s important for my profession to legitimize itself as one that is of value, of worth, and of merit.”

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