The California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) honored Cal State Long Beach athletic training intern and student Tori Mulitauaopele and Golden West College Athletic Trainer Pat Frohn with the “Lifesaver Award” for rescuing track athlete Javier Venegas after he collapsed at a Golden West College (GWC) track meet, officials announced Friday.
Today, Venegas is fully recovered from what was determined to be a heart arrhythmia. He returned to school during the first week of February.
“Each cardiologist who saw him, at three different hospitals, said Javier was alive today because these individuals took action,” Javier’s mother Valerie Venegas said in a statement. “Luckily, the right people were in at the right place at the right time; this could have been a very different story.”
The ceremony recalled the actions that took place at the track meet, which occurred January 25.
Shortly after Venegas collapsed on the track, GWC’s track coach notified Frohn and Mulitauaopele, who were in Frohn’s office at the time. The two sprung into action, grabbing an emergency pack and racing to the scene.
“After checking his vitals, I confirmed Javier wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse,” Frohn said during the ceremony. “At that point, I took over chest compressions and instructed Tori to start rescue breathing.”
Frohn used an automated external defibrillator while he and Mulitauaopele performed CPR. These actions resulted in the jolt where Venegas’ heart started beating, and he began breathing. At this point, the EMT arrived to transport the athlete to the emergency room, where he was put into a medically-induced coma.
Additionally, during the ceremony, CATA President Jason Bennett brought awareness to the fact that California currently remains the only state in the nation that doesn’t regulate athletic training.
“Anyone––regardless of education and certification–– can act as an athletic trainer and treat serious injuries with potentially dire consequences,” he said. “For the sake of our children, this needs to end now.”
Bennett added that the CATA and Assemblymember Matt Debabneh recently introduced legislation AB-1510, which would require licensure for athletic trainers in California.
“Beyond saving a life, Pat and Tori changed the lives of many,” State Senator Janet Nguyen said at the event. “As a parent, I can understand the deep sense of gratitude that the Venegas family has for Pat and Tori. As a neighbor to Golden West College, I am thankful to know that we have great staff and students that go beyond the call of duty to serve others. And as a believer in humanity, I am comforted in knowing that kindness and goodwill are among us.”