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Nationals trainers help save cameraman’s life following heart attack at Turner Field

By Mark Townsend- Big League Stew

A scary scene that played out in the Turner Field media room on Wednesday afternoon has a more hopeful outlook thanks to the quick actions of Washington Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and his training assistant John Hsu.

According to Comcast Sports Net Washington’s Mark Zuckerman, a local cameraman collapsed while preparing for the evening’s game between the visiting Nationals and the home standing Atlanta Braves and required immediate medical attention after suffering what appeared to be a heart attack.

Kuntz and Hsu, who were hanging out in the visiting weight room underneath the stadium at the time, were alerted to situation by someone running down the hallway looking for assistance. They responded immediately and instinctively.

Kuntz and Hsu grabbed an automated external defibrillator that had only been installed in the visiting clubhouse a week ago and rushed to the aid of the man, who had lost consciousness and wasn’t breathing. Kuntz used the AED machine and CPR to revive the man, then waited for paramedics to arrive.

The man, described by Kuntz as in his late 50s or early 60s and named Ruben, was taken to a nearby hospital. At last report, he was in ICU.

They say timing is everything. Thankfully, the recent installation of the external defibrillator came at just the right time for this gentleman, and likely played an important role in giving him a chance to live and hopefully recover well enough to resume a normal life.

Of course the quick thinking and immediate response by both Kuntz and Hsu were equally important, and we’re very thankful two men with their training and expertise were in a position where they could make the best possible attempts to save a man’s life. As Kuntz later noted, the entire Nationals training staff receives CPR training each spring, so they’re always prepared to act. However, it’s the first time he’d needed to use the CPR training at the ballpark.

Our hats are off to both Lee Kuntz and John Hsu.