Sunday, July 21, 2024

Hockey players save teammate’s life

Jenna Fireovid gives a thumbs up after receiving medical attention. She was playing hockey when what she believed to be an asthma attack resulted in her losing consciousness.

Jenna Fireovid Jason Fireovid

Jenna Fireovid plays hockey. She has played the sport since 2019.


By Hayden Sadler

Sept. 24 was a regular day for Jenna Fireovid, an undeclared first-year from South Carolina. Fireovid has played hockey since 2019 and joined the Hockey Club at SUNY Plattsburgh to play at a non-competitive level while at school. During a scrimmage, Fireovid found herself shorter of breath than normal.   

“I figured it was just my asthma acting up,” Fireovid said in a text message. 

She had gone to rest on the bench, and despite her not remembering much of what occurred, she mentioned that fellow players saw her throw her stick and collapse. 

Zach Coventry is a first-year criminal justice major and Fireovid’s friend. They are in a class together and both play hockey. He has played hockey for about 14 years, since he was 4 years old. Coventry was one of the first to rush over when she collapsed and placed his glove under her head to help.

Luke Zarko, a last-semester senior majoring in computer security, also came to the aid of his teammate. At first, Zarko thought the practice had simply exhausted Fireovid and she was laying down at the end of practice, he said. However, he soon found himself  rushing to help Fireovid. Coventry turned Fireovid onto her side, to ensure nothing got stuck in her throat and stopped her breathing, and Zarko quickly removed her helmet. 

Coventry mentioned that when he checked for a pulse, there was none.

“I lay on the ice unconscious and dead,” Fireovid said. 

As she tried to regain consciousness, she explained that she was worried she’d be unable to pull herself from the dream-like state in which she found herself. 

“About a minute after I was done with chest compressions, first responders arrived,” Coventry said. He added that after a minute or two, Fireovid still had no pulse.

Before paramedics arrived, Coventry and other bystanders took off Fireovid’s equipment so she could be transferred with minimal struggle.

“I did not wake up until the paramedics had been there,” Fireovid said.

Coventry, Zarko and Fireovid each mentioned that finding an automated external defibrillator was difficult, yet would have helped greatly. 

“If we knew where an AED was prior,” Zarko said, “it would’ve made the difference if things hadn’t gone our way.” 

Coventry said there seems to be very little information detailing access to AEDs.

“It would have helped if my teammates knew where the AED was and how to use it. That should have been the first source of help,” Fireovid said. “Although it is also important to know CPR. I was lucky that a few of the boys had been trained and were able to help me out,” she added.

Access to AEDs is crucial to the safety of students across campus. Fireovid’s close encounter with death and the difficulty of her peers in finding an AED underscores a serious issue the campus may face in ensuring the availability of such devices beyond merely complying to safety standards. While there may be signage indicating that AEDs are nearby, having more indication as to the exact locations would help save students in the future.

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