Athletic trainer uses CPR to help save teen's life

A local athletic trainer is being hailed as a hero after helping save a teenage girl’s life.

During the Marshall County Relays in Culver on Wednesday, a 13-year-old girl had barely crossed the finish line when she collapsed.

“It was the last meet of the night,” said Athletic Trainer Adam Rippy. “This girl had participated in events previous to this and there was no warning of what happened at all.”

Rippy rushed over to the girl to treat what he thought was a simple sprain or cramp. He quickly realized the situation was much more severe.

“When I approached her, I saw she was unresponsive,” he said. “We got her rolled over and her eyes were rolled back in her head and that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

Rippy has been CPR certified for the past 10 years, but had never put the training to use in a real-life situation until Wednesday. Rippy gave compressions while others helped with rescue breaths. When that wasn’t effective, he activated the machine.

“Once it said ‘shock advised,’ I hit the button and that’s when she started to come around a little bit,” Rippy said. “She took a breath and then her eyes came back and her color started coming back so that’s when we knew we were in the clear.”

When the ambulance arrived, the teen was rushed to an area hospital before being airlifted to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. A family friend says the teen will remain there until next week, after tests revealed she has a heart defect that stems from a genetic disorder. But, she's recovering well.

The outcome could have been much worse had it not been for Rippy’s quick response.

“Honestly, I was just doing my job,” he said. “I was kind of joking around with one of my teacher friends – just another day in the office for me.”

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