MIAMI COUNTY — Erin Schmerge’s life-saving skills and quick action helped revive a high school athlete who collapsed at the Piqua Regional Track Meet.
Schmerge, an Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) athletic trainer at Piqua High School, was on the other side of the field during the May 26 meet when the incident happened.
The young athlete from Northwestern Schools in Clark County was revived with the help of Schmerge; Katie Smith, athletic trainer of the Piqua schools; and a nurse at the meet. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus where he received a pacemaker.
Schmerge is in her fourth year as an athletic trainer and has worked as an athletic trainer at Piqua High School and Edison State Community College in Piqua. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from Wright State University.
She and others were getting ready to head to the finish line for running events when they overheard on the radio that an athletic trainer was needed at the shot-put area. Schmerge jumped on the Gator and drove to the fence area, then ran to the location outside the fence where the athlete was located.
At the time, she had no information on any injury or that he was unresponsive.
“When I arrived, two ladies were already performing CPR. I asked if they needed me to take over and they said they were fine,” she said. She then asked if there was any history of cardiac issues or seizures. There was none.
“I ran to get the AED and immediately applied the pad … I cleared everyone off the athlete and administered a shock,” Schmerge recalled. “The athlete left in the squad alert and stable.”
For her efforts, Schmerge this summer was awarded the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Lifesaver Recognition. The NATA applauds heroic efforts of its members through this recognition program.
This was the first time Schmerge was called on to assist in this type of medical emergency. She has not had the opportunity to have any further contact with the athlete.
“There are no words to describe what I felt on that day,” Schmerge said. “It was mostly just relief that he left our hands alert and stable and that the training I had paid off.”
She and Smith were among those recognized for helping save the young athlete’s life by the Piqua City Schools at their year-end staff meeting.
Schmerge lives in her home community of Botkins with her husband and 11-month-old son.