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When a fan went into cardiac arrest at a boys’ varsity basketball game, Geisinger certified athletic trainer Joseph Rosell launched into action.

At a recent varsity boys’ basketball game at MMI Preparatory School in Freeland, Pa., Geisinger athletic trainer Joseph Rosell noticed some commotion near the bleachers at the opposite side of the gym.

“People began calling for me,” recalls Joseph Rosell, a certified athletic trainer at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. “I thought maybe someone had tripped going up or down the bleachers.”

Joseph soon realized the situation was much more dire – a fan with the visiting team had gone into cardiac arrest near the bleachers and was unresponsive. Joseph rushed to his side where a nurse practitioner had already begun performing CPR. 

He retrieved his automated external defibrillator (AED), a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart and began using it on the patient. After the second CPR/AED cycle, the patient regained consciousness.

Athletic trainers provide emergency response

Joseph is a certified athletic trainer who works specifically with MMI Preparatory School, a small private school near Hazleton. He supports student athletes in the afternoon, covering all junior high and varsity sports at the school. 

Throughout the year, Joseph helps athletes with off-season strength and flexibility programs intended for injury prevention and treatments including heat, ice, ultrasound, manual therapy, taping and bracing. He also provides athletes with therapeutic exercise for injury rehabilitation, injury evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and concussions from the time of injury through to a safe return to playing.

As part of his job, Joseph can also be found at Geisinger Medical Center, where he sees patients in the hospital’s sports medicine clinic, working side-by-side with orthopaedic physicians in addition to providing home exercise programs and treatments such as splints and braces.

As an athletic trainer, Joseph is not only able to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries, he also holds emergency response training. At sport events, athletic trainers are the first responders – they must be trained and able to react accordingly.

After his experience at the MMI basketball game, Joseph was thanked by and talked with many people as they left the gym.

“I am grateful to have been able to be there that day for the patient,” says Joseph. “The humbling thought occurred to me that I helped save one person. It made me feel so thankful and in awe—to a point, I can’t express in words—of all of our amazing doctors, nurses and other health care professionals working in the hospitals who are saving lives daily.”

A career in athletic training

Joseph has been an athletic trainer for eight years. He first became interested in the profession after an introduction to athletic training class offered by the athletic trainer at his then-high school. To anyone considering a career in athletic training, Joseph says go for it.

“You can work in a variety of different settings. You get to cover all kinds of events and get opportunities to work with many different patient populations from all walks of life,” says Joseph. “It provides new challenges every day and can be very rewarding.”

His favorite part? Being involved with sports for a living and doing something that’s different every day. “You never know who is going to present to you with an injury or condition. It keeps you on your toes and gives you something different to do every day so that work never becomes boring.”

Joseph Rosell is a certified athletic trainer at Geisinger Medical Center. Learn more about our orthopaedic and sports medicine care team.

Geisinger certified athletic trainer Joseph Rosell with his automated external defibrillator (AED).