FORT MILL — No one has to tell Tasia Lung how important it was for her and two other Good Samaritans to take action when a man working a grill at Knights Stadium on March 30 collapsed suddenly and stopped breathing.
Lung, 29, who recently relocated to Tega Cay, was an EMT in Indiana and kept her CPR certification up-to-date even though she is not certified to work as an EMT in South Carolina.
“The faster you can get someone CPR, it increases the odds the patient survives,” Lung said.
The 68-year-old stadium worker, whose name has not been released, appeared to be in cardiac arrest. He was released from Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville.
“The employee is doing fine,” said Tommy Viola, director of PR/Media Relations for the Knights. “[He] requested that his name not be released. The employee has worked for Ovations Food Services and the Charlotte Knights for nine years and looks forward to getting back to work soon.”
Not long after the man collapsed at the grill, Corey Anderson, also a Tega Cay resident and a sales account executive for the Fort Mill Times and Lake Wylie Pilot, was the first to provide aid.
Not far behind him was WBTV sports personality Leah Rubertino. Both were at the stadium to play in a media softball game.
Initially, someone in the picnic area yelled out fire and call 911.
Anderson, 38, said he noticed flames and smoke coming from the grill at the concession stand seconds before he saw the man laying on the ground nearby.
“At first, I thought he had been burned,” Anderson said.
He said he saw the man was turning purple, and he couldn’t detect a pulse, so he started administering chest compressions.
Rubertino, 30, learned CPR in high school5t but said she never had to use it until then.
“I saw Corey was giving the compressions, and I knew I could do the breathing – and you can tell the guy wasn’t breathing,” she said.
“He didn’t have any color in his face, and that’s when instinct kicked in.”
Lung, who had been in the Knights’ locker area with a group tour when she heard a public address announcement asking for a doctor or medical professional, showed up at the picnic area and identified herself as a trained EMT. Anderson and Rubertino let her continue the primary aid, while Rubertino elevated the victim’s feet.
When the paramedics arrived, they used a used a defibrillator-type device to shock the victim’s heart before loading him on a stretcher and rushing him from the stadium.
“It was great seeing everyone jump in to help,” Lung said.
Scott Brown, general manger of baseball operations for the Knights, said an EMT had been at the stadium for most of the event.
“We did have an EMT on site for Saturday’s KnightsFest, but he left at the conclusion of the game. Our protocol dictates anywhere from one to three EMTs on site for a Knights game depending on crowd size,” Brown said.
Amy Faulkenberry, director of Marketing and Public Relations for Piedmont Medical Center, said the hospital provides free CPR training for individuals and local groups. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fort Mill Times reporter Jenny Overman contributed.