14:50 PM

The Right Resources to Keep Students Safe

It was an eerily quiet Sunday morning at the soccer fields in Kalispell. Several games were simultaneously at play for one of the largest regional soccer tournaments in the area. Within seconds, the movement and excitement came to a crashing halt as 14-year-old Tucker Paul collapsed on the field. He had suffered a sudden cardiac event. Tucker laid motionless on the grass without a heartbeat or respirations. Two nurses on scene immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a parent ran to find one of Logan Health’s certified athletic trainers. All games stopped, as families and teammates joined hands in prayer circles as only the sound of ambulance sirens could be heard in the distance.

Amy Thoreson and Tracy Houser, both certified athletic trainers from Logan Health’s Youth Development program, know the importance of always having an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) with them in case of a potential life-ending cardiac event. That morning, before heading to the tournaments, Amy stopped at Logan Health Medical Fitness Center and picked up an AED—unaware she’d have to use it only a few moments later.

When Amy was alerted to the emergency on the field, she immediately ran to the scene and hooked up the AED to Tucker‘s chest, providing two shocks and restarting the young man’s heart. The ambulance arrived and transported Tucker to Logan Health Medical Center in Kalispell.

“When I went home that evening, I just looked at my two children and I held them close and I cried,” Amy recalled. “I’m sure every parent went home that night and did the same.” Quick actions, skilled people, and the vital AED saved a young life in a situation which could have so quickly ended in tragedy.

As part of our commitment to the region’s families and children, Logan Health’s Youth Development program provides certified athletic trainers at every community sporting event as well as within most public schools. With recent additions to Bigfork and Stillwater High Schools, there are currently five high schools within the Flathead Valley that now have full-time athletic trainers on campus — and positions are continuing to be filled.

By supporting Logan Health’s Youth Development program, you’re supporting the wellbeing and livelihood of our region’s children. Our mission is to provide a multi-disciplinary, highly-trained staff to enable all youth to have an active and healthy lifestyle and foster lifelong success through individualized plans that include knowledge of the body, performance training, injury prevention, safety screenings for concussions, recovery to play protocol and nutrition. The program will also provide social workers and counselors in the schools and as a resource to communicate to students about bullying, emotional self-awareness, body image dysmorphic orders, and eating disorders.

This past year, the Youth Development program screened over 1,100 student athletes for baseline concussion testing — a process which will occur again this August. And, with Tucker’s story as a fresh reminder of what can occur on the field, the Youth Development program recently purchased 20 medical grade AEDs to be provided to local schools and used by our athletic trainers —an encouraging start made possible by a passionate donor, who generously gave a $2 million gift to the program.

If you would like more information about Logan Health’s Youth Development program or the community-wide effort to purchase AEDs, please contact Kelly Malmin at [email protected].