Kent State University students Samantha Phillips, a junior athletic training major from Euclid, Ohio, and Essien Cobham, a senior mathematics and computer science major from Kent, Ohio, were at the right place at the right time to save a life, but it almost didn’t happen.
On Nov. 4, Phillips had planned to walk outside to enjoy the sunny and unusually warm fall day, but at the last minute, she decided to cut through the Kent Student Center. She is glad she did.
“I came inside and noticed everyone with panic on their faces,” Phillips said. “Then a student told me someone upstairs needed help.”
A visiting local high school student had fallen to the floor unconscious from an undisclosed medical emergency.
Jumping Into Action
Cobham ran over to help out a group of people trying the Heimlich maneuver, but the student wasn’t responding, so Cobham started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“It was stressful, but I think it would have been a lot more stressful not knowing what to do,” he said.
While Cobham was doing chest compressions, Phillips arrived to help. For more than a year, she had been carrying a pocket mask, which is a small device with a valve that allows the rescuer to breathe air into the mouth of a victim.
“All I could think about was reviving him,” Phillips said. “I knew how important it was to keep chest compressions going to keep the blood pumping through the body.”
Together, Cobham and Phillips continued CPR.
The situation couldn’t have called for two better and highly trained students. Cobham received his CPR certification while working in a daycare center. Phillips received hers as a lifeguard for 9 years. She even teaches the lifesaving courses. Both students hope that this situation will encourage others to take a CPR class.
“I hope this story opens people’s eyes to why they should get certified and how it helped in this situation,” Phillips said. “I want to make sure people understand the importance of getting trained.”
Kent State’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center offers CPR, First Aid and AED (Automated External Defibrillators) Certification training through the American Red Cross. There is an upcoming class on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It costs $70 for students. It is also open to the public. Call Chris Baker at 330-672-0480 to register.
“It creates an opportunity to save a life,” said Dr. Angela DeJulius, director of University Health Services at Kent State. “Training gives you confidence to act. If you don’t have the training, it can be so frightening that you can’t help.”
Putting Training Into Good Use
As for the high school student, he is out of the hospital and recovering from his medical emergency.
Phillips and Cobham are glad that they were able to put their training to good use.
“Thinking back on it, and now that I know he’s OK, it feels good to have helped,” Cobham said.
“It seems like I was meant to be there,” Phillips said.