Athletic Trainers Honored for Heroic Act at Lifesaver Award Presentation

California Athletic Trainers’ Association Recognizes Athletic Trainers for Saving Life at Rancho Bernardo High School 

Award recipients and the spectator they saved with CATA President Dr. Jason Bennett. From left to right: Christina Scherr, Nicole Pfutzenreuter, Nicole Shimotake, Bill Parkhurst, Robbie Bowers and Dr. Jason Bennett.

Today, four San Diego-based athletic trainers (AT) were honored for saving a spectator’s life at Rancho Bernardo High School during a January 20 basketball game against Westview High. Recognizing their heroic actions, the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) presented its “Lifesaver Award” to Rancho Bernardo High’s Head AT Robbie Bowers, Assistant AT Nicole Pfutzenreuter, SDSU AT Student Nicole Shimotake and Westview AT Christina Scherr.

The ceremony – which took place at Rancho Bernardo High – recounted the events of that day when Bowers reviewed the school’s emergency protocols with his athletic training staff in anticipation of the basketball game. A common practice, the review ensures the ATs are ready if a catastrophic event occurs and they have to jump into action.

As the staff watched the game from the sidelines, a commotion erupted from the bleachers. A spectator – Rancho Bernardo resident Bill Parkhurst – was experiencing cardiac arrest.

“My staff and I immediately ran to Parkhurst to assess the situation,” said Bowers. “After determining he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, I started chest compressions while Christina Scherr and Nicole Shimotake prepped his chest for defibrillation and controlled bystanders. Nicole Pfutzenreuter coordinated other staff members’ responsibilities and directed EMS access to the facility.”

Following the delivery of a single AED shock, Parkhurst’s heart began beating and he regained consciousness. Today, he is doing well and credits the athletic trainers with saving his life.

“The events of January 20 underscore the importance of having qualified athletic trainers overseeing the care of athletes, spectators and the public,” said Dr. Jason Bennett, CATA President. “Currently, California remains the only state in the nation that doesn’t regulate athletic training, which means anyone – regardless of education and certification – can act as an athletic trainer, and treat serious injuries with potentially dire consequences. This needs to change now.”

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) and David Rolland, a representative for Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), both presented certificates of appreciation to the athletic trainers and echoed the importance of having measures in place to ensure athlete and public safety.

“Incidents like these certainly are not isolated,” said Assemblymember Maienschein. “It’s imperative that we have qualified individuals like the athletic trainers we’ve honored today overseeing the care of our children and the public.”

To this end, the CATA and Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) recently introduced AB 1510 – legislation that would require licensure for athletic trainers in California.

For more information about CATA and AB 1510, visit: http://ca-at.org.

About the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA):
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the provision of physical medicine and rehabilitation services, serving as physician extenders in the prevention, assessment and treatment of acute and chronic injuries and illnesses. The California Athletic Trainers’ Association (http://www.ca-at.org) represents and supports 2,600 members of the athletic training profession in the state.