When a men’s lacrosse athlete collapsed at the beginning of an evening indoor practice, Geisinger certified athletic trainer Robin Jackson acted immediately to save his life.
One night, at an evening indoor men’s lacrosse team practice, Geisinger certified athletic trainer Robin Jackson was working in her office. The team had just finished their warmup when a member ran into her office alerting her that a teammate had collapsed.
Robin ran to the athlete to find him unresponsive. Yelling for someone to bring her the automated external defibrillator (AED)—a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart—she began chest compressions.
“Once the AED was placed, I was fortunate that the athlete was revived after just one shock,” says Robin.
He was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart muscle to become abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. As a result, the athlete received a pacemaker.
Athletic trainers are trained to provide emergency response
Through her job at Geisinger as a certified athletic trainer, Robin works with Division III athletes at Misericordia. In total, she works with 23 teams and around 500 athletes, working with them both on and off season to train, recover, prevent and treat injuries and evaluate and treat musculoskeletal injuries and concussions.
Athletic trainers like Robin are not only trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries, but also to perform in emergency situations. At sport events and practices, athletic trainers are the first responders – they must be trained and able to react accordingly.
Of that day, Robin says, “I don’t think anything ever prepares you for this type of thing. However, we are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED beginning in the junior year of college. We are taught to remain calm and think about the best course of action for individual athletes.”
It was this training that prepared her to react quickly and save the athlete’s life.
An exciting career in athletic training
Robin has been an athletic trainer for 21 years and has been an athlete her whole life. The thing that drew her most to a career in athletic training was that every day would be different, and she wouldn’t be working in an office setting.
“I love working with athletes and the ever-changing days,” says Robin. “No two are alike!”
To anyone considering a career in athletic training, Robin says to study hard, get ready for long days and remember to take one day at a time.