Behind the Scenes

Time for a Feel-Good Story

I love a good feel-good story, and this one sure qualifies. Roberta Kruse-Fordham, general manager at Sports Fitness & Fun, Florida, NY, contacted me the other day to let me know about how her team pulled together to save a life on Dec. 2.

On that morning, one of their members, 57-year-old Jack Swem, passed out and began shaking on the floor. A member noticed what happened and alerted Jason Sanchez, a personal trainer. Tara Marshall, membership director, was alerted at the front desk about the situation and called 911. Melissa Rimipici, customer service director, and personal trainers Wayne Scheiman and Barbara Matchett came to assist. Swem's shaking soon stopped, but so did his breathing, so the club's AED unit instructed Sanchez to administer a shock, which he did. He had to repeat the procedure before Swem's heart began beating again. The emergency workers arrived shortly thereafter, taking Swem to the hospital. He later had a pacemaker implanted.

Swem is doing well, Kruse-Fordham says, proud that part of the reason he is alive is because of the experienced, well-trained team at Sports Fitness & Fun. Swem was so grateful that he took the team out for dinner.

Kruse-Fordham said that the ironic thing about this was that just two weeks prior, she had been bugging Swem to provide her with his emergency contact information, which he had left blank on his form. The evening of the heart attack when Kruse-Fordham went to the hospital to see Swem, she said that she asked him if she could have his contact information now, which provided a chuckle for both, she said.

For her part, Kruse-Fordham wanted to emphasize to other club operators how important it is to be prepared, be current on certifications and get the emergency contact information for all members.

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