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School board recognizes Southard coaches

Coach Mullinax, David Ledesma, Maribel Landa, Coach Lammers.

During 8th-period athletics on Nov. 16, Southard 7th-grader David Ledesma collapsed while stretching and was unresponsive, but because of the quick actions of coaches on the scene, David and his mother were at the school board meeting Monday night to watch Aaron Mullinax and David Lammers receive life-saving plaques from the school board.

“It was a scary moment to see a student athlete non-responsive and not breathing,” Southard Principal Richard Boring said. “All of PISD has awesome coaches, but these two saved a kid with their actions. They jumped right in and showed no hesitation in their response. Precious seconds were not wasted, because they did an amazing job quickly assessing the situation and performing the necessary actions to help the student.”

Coach Mullinax and Coach Lammers both had the standard training required by the school district to administer CPR, as well as the knowledge to operate the AEDs located at each campus.

”We quickly determined that he needed CPR,” Coach Lammers said. “I have been in situations where players have gotten injured, but not one where CPR was necessary. Fortunately, Coach Mullinax was there with me to set in motion the emergency protocol involved with that type of situation.”

Coach Mullinax was quick to put his assessment training to use.

“At that point, I rolled the student on his back, checked for vitals and began chest compressions and told someone to run to the office and call 911,” Coach Mullinax said. “With still no vitals, Coach Lammers took over CPR, and I ran for the AED. We got the machine set up and followed the instructions.”

Following the use of the AED, everyone was relieved to see the young athlete begin to respond.

“The student started to gasp for air, and we continued to follow the procedures of monitoring the student while waiting for the ambulance to arrive,” Coach Mullinax said. “Upon the arrival of the ambulance, the student was showing signs of improvement.”

Coach Mullinax was glad he was there for his student athlete.

“Many years of training and taking CPR and first aid helped,” he said. “However, in the real-life situation, it can be a bit different, and staying calm and efficient, while also having the proper training was the key.” 

Mr. Boring said watching this life-saving event was incredible.

“To witness these gentlemen act like this is something they do every day was impressive,” Mr. Boring said. “We never imagine our teachers doing this, but we understand sometimes that we just cannot wait on paramedics or the trained professionals.”

David and his mother, Maribel Landa, agree with Mr. Boring’s description of the medical emergency.

“David told me he is here tonight because of these two men,” Mr. Boring said. “And he and his mom are happy the coaches responded the way they did and are now getting this recognition. We always pray that nothing like this ever happens, but these two Southard coaches saved a life that day, and I wanted to share this with parents and the community.” 

But Coach Mullinax and Coach Lammers both gave credit to others for their role in the crisis.

“I want to give credit to the other players on the team who ran to the office to alert the front office staff of the emergency situation,” Coach Lammers said. “They made a huge contribution in helping to provide a prompt response to the student who needed help.”

Coach Mullinax added, “The athletes remained calm and followed instructions, and everyone from the office administration to the nurse to the teachers with classes in session had the proper response and knew the safety drills.”

David and his mom joined Coach Mullinax and Coach Lammers for photos after they received their life-saving plaques from the school board, and they shared a moment to soak in all that happened to get to this night.

“When taking all the CPR/AED training courses, I never thought I would have to use the skills to save a life,” Coach Lammers said. “I'm just happy I had the training necessary, and I'm just thankful the student is OK and we could help him.”