Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My Lifesaving Red Cross Story: Josh Berg

By Clarice Nassif Ransom, American Red Cross Volunteer

Name: Josh Berg
Recognition: American Red Cross Lifesaving Certificate of Merit, 2019

Meet Josh Berg. Josh helped save the life of an athlete who collapsed and lost consciousness at the finish line of a track meet at the Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 2019. 

Josh Berg receiving his award from American Red Cross
in the National Capital Region CEO Linda Mathes in  November 2019.

Just three days before the track meet, Josh was re-certified in American Red Cross CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers & First Aid, which Josh attributes as helping him to know how to save the athlete’s life. Josh explains that on the day of the track meet, he was the host athletic trainer – it was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, and the event was typical from a medical aspect. 

“As an athletic trainer at a track meet, however, you can never let your guard down, and you must be prepared to deal with the absolute worst of scenarios,” said Josh. 

“The absolute worst of scenarios happened as quickly as I can remember. I got a radio call from my intern who said that there was an athlete at the finish line who apparently stopped breathing and lost his pulse. I immediately ran to the scene to evaluate the medical situation.”

Josh said the athlete was a mid-distance sprinter who finished the race and collapsed as he was trying to catch his breath. 

“At the time of my initial assessment, the athlete was not breathing, and he did not have a pulse,” said Josh. 

“I instructed a bystander to notify emergency medical services (EMS) staff who were thankfully stationed at the meet. I immediately began giving chest compressions, and it did not take long for the athlete to regain consciousness. I remember around the 22, 23, or 24th chest compression, the athlete took a gigantic gasp of air. At that time, I never felt more relief in my entire life. EMS staff responded quickly and were on the scene very close to when that athlete began breathing and regaining a pulse.”

Josh said as the EMS staff removed the athlete from the scene for further medical treatment, the athlete was waving to the crowd.

 "A true miracle was that the athlete had the fight in him to remain alive,” said Josh, who was grateful to the intern and to the bystander for helping him save the athlete’s life.

“I retreated back to my tent and prayed I would never have to do something like that again. I was hopeful that the athlete would make a good recovery, which I later found out he did.”

Saving a life impacted Josh in many ways, including realizing how his training in American Red Cross CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers & First Aid made him prepared and able to respond to this unexpected event. 

“This lifesaving event taught me that there is no such thing as being overly prepared, especially if lives are on the line,” said Josh. 

“Whether you are a healthcare professional, summer lifeguard, coach, or a bystander with a CPR certification, you must always be ready to snap into action and to protect others. As an athletic trainer, not only are we surrounded by our student-athletes every day, we are surrounded by our school’s community. We are often the first line of help during an emergency.”

Josh hopes his story will inspire others who hear and read about it to become trained in CPR/AED or take part in other lifesaving trainings.

He says the key to a lifesaving event is being ready.

“Trust yourself and the preparation that brought you to this point. True instinct will take over. I think this story will inspire some to not take their role for granted.”

The American Red Cross Lifesaving Certificate of Merit is the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course. The certificate bears the signature of the President of the United States, who is the honorary chairman of the American Red Cross, and the signature of the chairman of the American Red Cross. According to the American Red Cross, a lifesaving action exemplifies the highest degree of concern of one human being for another who is in distress.
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Our Red Cross training programs include First Aid, AED, BLS, CPR, EMR, swimming, water safety, babysitting, child care, and more! Learn more and sign up today: http://redcross.org/takeaclass

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