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Local trainer reflects on own life-saving CPR moment following Damar Hamlin situation

Posted at 7:12 AM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 10:12:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A sigh of relief for the nation on Thursday after hearing that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is awake and recovering following a cardiac arrest incident during Monday Night Football.

"Seeing that on TV definitely made me think back to one of our staff members Yuki and the great job he did to save a life, literally,” Timothy Fischer, the head athletic trainer at San Diego Mesa College, said

A chilling memory for athletic trainers Timothy Fischer and Yuki Matsuzawa.

It was last September when Matsuzawa performed CPR on an elderly athlete at a track event on San Diego Mesa College's campus.

"It was a heart attack. He stopped breathing, heartbeat for like one minute and I applied AED, CPR and thankfully he came back to normal,” Matsuzawa said

He hopes that with his efforts and that of those during Monday’s game can emphasize what these trainers do.

"We have more than like tapping, stretching, icing. We have like an emergency action plan, so we are prepared for any situations for example like cardiac arrest,” Matsuzawa said.

Hamlin's physicians in Cincinnati credit this type of life-saving skill for saving his life.

Something Fischer said was similarly echoed in Matsuzawa’s case too.

"It made me think and be proud of Yuki and our staff to recognize a situation, apply CPR and AED correctly. And to have San Diego Fire and Rescue come back and say it was his quality CPR and one shock of the AED that brought this man back,” Fischer said.

It shows that training and practice can mean the same for athletes as it does for those tasked with caring for them.

"Sports are a little dangerous like so many injuries, so many things happen to the sports. But if an athletic trainer is over there, they feel like oh if something happens, they can help us,” Matsuzawa said.

"And no doubt those athletic trainers from both sides acted with the EMTs and the ambulance crews to resuscitate him, get him to the hospital and now, the doctors have the hard work to help him recover,” Fischer said.

San Diego County said many organizations like the American Heart Association and the YMCA provide CPR certification courses.