Reagan coaches recall saving student's life

John Hirst and Joe Martinez didn't hesitate to act on Tuesday morning when a student's life was suddenly placed in their hands when he collapsed and stopped breathing.

In sports, much like life, when your number is called, you do what you have to do.

It was a scary Tuesday morning at Reagan High School as a varsity basketball player collapsed and a quick-thinking coach and trainer jumped into action.

Rattlers varsity basketball coach John Hirst and trainer Joe Martinez recalled what it was like when a life was suddenly put in their hands.

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“A natural instinct kind of kicked in,” Martinez recalled. “It wasn’t until after he left on that ambulance where the emotion kind of took over.”

“Obviously we were relieved [when he started breathing again],” Coach Hirst said.

The two men performed CPR and utilized an AED (automated external defibrillator) after the student collapsed and stopped breathing. After the student was transferred to a nearby hospital, the staff there told them that they’d literally saved the student’s life.

“They were pretty generous in their praise,” Coach Hirst said. “They told us that we had saved his life.”

“I’ll never forget that machine saying, ‘shock advised,’ and gave him that shock, started another round of CPR, and that breath came into him, and it was just a sigh of relief and something that I’ll never forget.”

Coach Hirst is quick to say that Martinez was the hero of the situation. But that’s a label that Martinez isn’t interested in.

“’Hero,’ it’s not anything I worry about,” Martinez said. “I’m just happy for the kid and his family. That’s all that matters to me.”

“At the end of the day, we’ve got a young man that’s still with us today that otherwise might not have been. So perspective clearly was gained [Tuesday] at about 8:35.”