CPR Saving Blazers’ Lives!

Okay, so not Blazers players. But it’s a fantastic story nonetheless!

Bob Burke is an advance scout and former assistant coach for the Blazers. Recently he was in southern California sharing his roundball knowledge with local high school basketball coaches. While he was doing so he collapsed to the ground, and three quick-thinking coaches sprang into action and used the CPR skills they had learned—one called 9-1-1, one did chest compressions and the other administered mouth-to-mouth.

The coaches say that Burke’s heart had stopped beating, but they were able to re-start it using CPR. The fact that his life was saved is a miracle enough, but his heart re-starting from CPR makes this story even more amazing. You see, as the original article states, Burke’s wife was told “most patients whose hearts stop outside a hospital either die or end up brain dead.” The reason for this is that the purpose of using CPR is not to re-start the heart—which it so rarely does—but to manually pump the heart to keep blood running to the vital organs until EMTs can arrive with defibrillation capabilities. So the longer a heart is stopped the longer the brain is going without its normal blood supply. That’s why so many victims end up brain dead. And, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for each minute of elapsed time a victim is in cardiac arrest his or her chance of survival decreases 10%. 10%! That they were able to actually re-start his heart is truly a miracle.

I suppose that’s why we’re so active in promoting the purchase of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to local businesses and organizations.

Wicked-big kudos to the coaches to jumped in to help when their assistance was so desperately needed. “There were a lot of coaches in the stands that could have done what we did,” said one of the heroes. “But we got there first.” I love the humility.

Burke is apparently recovering well thanks to the coaches and their lifesaving skills.