California’s crisis with athletic trainers: High school athletes are at risk

Javier Venegas, a 21-year-old distance runner for Golden West College, suddenly collapsed on the track one afternoon in late January.

He wasn’t breathing. He didn’t have a pulse.

Fortunately, Pat Frohn, a certified athletic trainer for Golden West, plus a Long Beach State athletic-training student, Tori Mulitauaopele, were in the Athletic Training Room and were called out to the track. They began CPR. It took two shocks from the automated external defibrillator (AED) to return Javier’s heartbeat.

The EMTs arrived and Venegas was rushed to the emergency room, where he was put into a medically induced coma. He is now recovered from what was determined to be a heart arrhythmia.

“If I wasn’t here, if there was no athletic trainer on staff, if this was any high school in the area?” Frohn said, “Javier would be dead.”

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