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Northern Michigan golfer uses CPR to revive man in cardiac arrest

Avery Rochester is pushing for more Northern Michigan students to be CPR/AED trained. Northern Michigan University photo

Preparation and fate placed Avery Rochester in position to save a life.

Rochester, an athletic training major and a senior on the Northern Michigan women’s golf team, had her CPR/AED training put to the test and resuscitated a man in January.

On Jan. 25, Rochester and her teammates attended a Zumba class at a gym about a mile from campus. The Wildcats women’s golf team normally would not have been in the building on a Thursday, but a workout scheduled for Jan. 22 had been postponed due to a snowstorm in Marquette, Michigan.

During the first song, a scream came from the rear of the class after a man collapsed.

“He was facedown on the ground, and it took a second or two for it to register,” Rochester says. “When I got to him and asked if he was OK, there was no response. I wasn’t sure if it was a seizure, heart attack or if he fainted.”

After checking for a pulse, Rochester realized the man didn’t have one. Northern Michigan assistant golf coach Alex Palmer called 911, and Rochester asked for someone to get the automated external defibrillator.

Rochester began CPR by doing 30 compressions on the man’s chest. Another person in the class then performed two rescue breaths. After performing two cycles of CPR and administering shocks with the AED, Rochester began two more rounds of CPR, and the victim was able to start breathing on his own before emergency medical personnel arrived.

After the harrowing ordeal, an emotional Rochester drove to see her mom, Julie, who is the faculty athletics representative and the director of the athletic training education program at Northern Michigan.

“I needed to go somewhere and settle down. I was crying, and my mom’s first thoughts were I either crashed my car or had broken up with my boyfriend,” Rochester says. “I told her what happened at the gym, and she was proud of me. She has been certified in CPR forever and has never had to use it in a situation like that.”

Rochester, who is scheduled to graduate this spring and start a postgraduate program in athletic training at Missouri in late May, is a firm believer in as many people as possible being certified in CPR/AED.

“The experience at the gym was scary, but I am thankful that I went through training,” Rochester says. “You can save someone’s life someday.”

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