PreventionSudden Cardiac Death

Teacher Survives SCA Thanks to Quick Actions of Athletic Trainer and Fans


Article reposted from: Advocates for Injured Athletes
Author: Heather Clemons

It was a Friday in September at Francis Parker School and the football game was in full swing. Athletic trainer Niki Dehner heard her name being yelled from the stands and she turned to realize some of the fans were trying to get her attention near the top of the bleachers – a spectator had collapsed suddenly. Upon reaching the collapsed spectator Niki found two physicians (spectators) performing CPR on the collapsed gentleman. She ensured 9-1-1 had been called and retrieved the automated external defibrillator (AED) from the sidelines. Niki applied the AED and administered a shock, at which time the emergency medical technicians arrived and transported the gentleman to the hospital for further treatment.

Niki is happy to report the spectator, a teacher at Francis Parker School, was ultimately revived and survived sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). After missing a few weeks, he has returned to work at the high school.

For Niki, she is proud of all those who played a role in helping save this man’s life. The emergency action plan (EAP) was executed as designed and an AED was readily available when it was needed. All those involved responded effectively. Of note, the students working with Niki acted quickly and confidently to locate the AED as instructed and direct the ambulance to the stands. Having the AED available on the field and not inside the building was critical in getting to the collapsed spectator quickly, as time is of the essence when SCA is suspected. For every one minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7 to 10%.

Francis Parker School made a commitment to be prepared in an emergency with an emergency action plan (EAP), an athletic trainer, and an AED – it has paid off in saving the life of one of its teachers. Being prepared for an emergency is ultimately a benefit for the entire school community, not just its student athletes. Being prepared with the proper planning, staffing and equipment saves lives. Thank you to Niki and Francis Parker School for your commitment to emergency preparedness.


San Diego Athletic Trainer Honored by His Peers


An athlete hits the turf and doesn’t get up. Trainers rush onto the field. The crowd sits in silence. Parents are deeply concerned. Every minute that kid is down on the field feels like an hour.

If you’ve been to a high school athletic event, you likely know the scene. Longtime Rancho Bernardo athletic trainer Robbie Bowers certainly does. At that moment, he becomes the most important man in the stadium. But many might not realize his importance at other moments, too.

“He is more than just an athletic trainer here at RB High,” Broncos Athletic Director Peggy Brose said. “He is very much a valued member of our staff. What he does goes beyond working with athletes and coaches. Everybody on our campus knows and respects Robbie.”

And so do his athletic-trainer colleagues.

Bowers recently was named co-Athletic Trainer of the Year by the San Diego High Schools Athletic Trainers Association. He and Niki Dehner of Francis Parker are the award’s first winners.

“It is nice to have the recognition,” said Bowers, 51, who has been the head athletic trainer at Rancho Bernardo since the school opened in 1990. “It is kind of weird. I don’t know how to put it modestly, but it kind of is no big deal because I already feel respected and appreciated. There is not a day that goes by without a coach or administrator thanking me, so I feel validated that way already. But for my peers to recognize me, it is a little more special.”

Bowers, a San Diego State graduate, was nominated for the award by Mt. Carmel trainer Diane Lawrence, for whom Bowers was a mentor.

Often called upon for many different things, Bowers serves as a liaison for the California Interscholastic Federation’s San Diego Section, scheduling trainers at championship games, educating administrators on athletic training and advocating for appropriate athletic training medical coverage at events. He oversees weight management for wrestling and mentors soon-to-be-professional trainers.

“It is not a job to him. It is a passion,” Brose said. “Robbie has not only left a legacy and mark here at our school, he has left one throughout the district and the county.”

Bowers said he has “always felt lucky to fall into” the profession. He called himself an average athlete and student, but something clicked when he discovered athletic training.

“I found this field and I started to excel academically,” he said. “I fell into the right assignment at the right time. I got the right experience at the right time and the right exposure. It’s almost like this was crafted.”

Bowers said he has many fond memories at RB, including a few with some of the current coaching staff when they were students at the school.

“About 12 of our coaches were former athletes here so that is kind of neat,” he said. “(Basketball coach Marc Basehore, football coach Tristan McCoy) and all those guys I remember when they were 14-year-old kids.

“I have had some great experiences and a lot of them have nothing to do with winning or losing. To just see a kid achieve something that wasn’t placed on them by a coach or sometimes it’s just helping a kid get healthy enough to suit up for senior night or to play one last game their senior season.”

Bowers has no plans to leave the school any time soon. He still gets along great with the students. He often jokes with them that the reason they call it RB High is because it’s Robbie Bowers High School.

“In 14 years I will be 65,” he said. “I question if I will be able to connect with a 14-16-year-old when I am 65. If I can still make that connection, where they trust and believe in me and follow my lead as I try to care for them, then what else would I do but follow this purpose that I have.”