Pictured left-to-right: Pat Frohn, GWC athletic trainer; Tori Mulitauaopele, CSULB athletic training student; Javier Venegas, GWC track athlete; and Hank Cochrane, GWC assistant track coach. The photo was taken on February 9, 2017, after Javier returned to school. Photo credit: Grep Parks, Golden West College.

January 25, 2017 was an afternoon like any other, until it wasn’t. Javier Venegas, a 20-year-old track athlete at Golden West College (GWC), collapsed on the track and wasn’t breathing.

Seeing the incident, GWC’s track coach ran to get GWC’s certified Athletic Trainer Pat Frohn, who was in his office. Jumping into action, Frohn grabbed his emergency pack, containing an AED, and raced to the track with Athletic Training Intern Tori Mulitauaopele and the track coach. As the three arrived on the scene, GWC Assistant Track Coach Hank Cochrane was administering chest compressions on the student and Frohn assessed the student’s condition.

“After checking his vitals, I confirmed Javier wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse,” said Frohn. “At that point I took over chest compressions and instructed Tori to start rescue breathing.”

Frohn used the AED as he and Mulitauaopele continued CPR; Frohn delivered the jolt and Venegas’ heart started beating and he began breathing. At this point, the EMT arrived and transported the athlete to the emergency room, where he was put into a medically induced coma.

Today, Venegas is fully recovered from what was determined to be a heart arrhythmia. The cardiologists who treated Venegas and his family credit the athletic trainers with saving his life that day.

“Each cardiologist who saw him, at three different hospitals, said Javier was alive today because these individuals took quick action,” said Valerie Venegas, Javier’s mother. “Luckily, the right people were in the right place at the right time; this could have been a very different story.”

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