Last Updated Tuesday, July 21, 2020 6:39PM UTC
Para-athlete, sledge-hockey coach, and father, 38 year-old Shawn Lucas was at his son’s hockey practice when he came upon a serious emergency situation on the rink.
“I noticed an adult hockey player on a different ice surface,” he reports. “He was laying face down on the ice with a pool of blood growing beneath his head. I paused, expecting to see a team doctor or tournament first-aider come out to check on the downed player. However, I saw no off-ice movement so I began to move towards the ice. As I noticed a number of other players lifting the apparently unconscious and limp player up by his jersey and pads, I sprung into action and began calling out that I was a first aider and for them to not move him. By this time, they already had him up and they started bringing him towards the open penalty box doors where I was standing. I noticed he was now conscious and moving so I had them sit him down on the bench. I gave him my name, identified myself as knowing first aid and started checking on him, his vital signs and his feeling in his extremities. He had a massive gash and goose-egg on his forehead that was bleeding quite strongly. I sent a bystander to go get a first aid kit from the arena guest services and asked someone else to call emergency services.
While they were off, I had another bystander gather some towels to help control the bleeding. As I didn’t have gloves available, I attempted to have the player apply pressure to his wounds to help stop the bleeding, however he was quite embarrassed by the incident and only semi-aware of things, so he didn’t follow instructions well. The bystander who had gone to get the first aid kit came back and informed me that guest services had refused access to the first aid kit unless we could verify exactly what items we needed.
Fortunately, an ER nurse who was going by noticed what was going on and came to give me assistance. When emergency services arrived, I informed them that despite the player’s assertions that he had not lost consciousness, I had witnessed him on the ice and not moving for a period of at least 20 seconds.”
Shawn’s first thought was that the player had suffered a head or neck injury. “Everyone on the ice was just crowded around him, rather than providing any kind of checks or providing assistance,” he stated. “My thoughts then turned to amazement at the lack of preparedness both teams that were playing had and more importantly the lack of awareness there was on how to treat someone who is unconscious and had just suffered an impact injury to the head.”
...days after, I actually spent some time with my 7 year-old son going over some first aid scenarios and things that he could do to be prepared to help out in emergencies.”
Having been certified in First Aid for most of his life, Shawn believes that, “First aid is definitely a skill that anyone, anywhere, can learn. I walk with a cane due to a workplace accident 14 years ago that left me with impaired mobility in one leg, but during an emergency there are many roles that need to be filled. First aid is varied and doesn’t fit in a one sized fits all box, so I fully believe that anyone can acquire skills that would be helpful for an emergency where first aid is required. This incident gave me a reminder of that and in the days after, I actually spent some time with my 7 year-old son going over some first aid scenarios and things that he could do to be prepared to help out in emergencies.”
When asked if he felt prepared to handle an emergency due to his First Aid training and skills, Shawn was confident in his answer. “One-hundred percent,” he said. “The most important skills I used were the practice of taking control of the scene, organizing bystanders and passing along the most information possible to EMS.”