Assistant course manager at Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. saves golfer's life with defibrillator
The word “hero” gets slapped around more than a cheap range ball, especially in sports. And golf is no exception. Take Tom Watson’s charge at the 2009 Open Championship (aka, British Open): while it was certainly inspiring, it was not “heroic.” He was a professional playing for money and a shiny trophy.
Chris Edmondson and Dave Sebestik, on the other hand, are heroes, although they wouldn’t describe themselves that way.
Edmondson is the assistant course manager at Lake of the Woods Golf Course, in Mahomet, Ill. (my home course), and Sebestik is the assistant golf pro. On a rainy afternoon on April 4, a call came in to Sebestik in the pro shop. It was one of the few groups on the course, reporting that a man was down on the 17th hole and 911 had been called.
Edmondson and Sebestik didn’t know what was going on exactly, but they high-tailed it out to the 17th. Luckily, Edmondson also grabbed the course’s automated external defibrillator (AED). All the staff at the course are trained in how to use the device, and it turned out to be a very good thing.
When they arrived at the hole, according to a story on the News-Gazette website, they found James “Jim” Brandenburg, 64, of Mahomet, lying on the ground. He wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Brandenburg’s playing partners, Mike Wattles and Gary Peterson, were administering CPR.
As quoted by the News-Gazette, Edmondson said “I told them to step away, because we could hook up the AED. When you put it on, it walks you through. It’s kind of foolproof.”
“I opened it up and put the pads on,” Edmondson continued. “It checked all the vitals, and it said, ‘Administer shock.’ I told everybody to just kind of stand back and pushed the button. (Jim) gave a little jump and a breath, and I felt he had a little pulse going.”
Then the AED checked Brandenburg’s vitals again and this time it said, “No shock required,” which meant his heart was going. That’s when the paramedics showed up.
Brandenburg underwent an emergency triple by-pass, but has no lingering ill-effects of, well, nearly dying. According to the doctors and paramedics, his buddies did a great job with the CPR and Edmondson’s herorics with the AED clearly saved his life.
Any lessons to be learned here? Well, one is that every course should have at least one AED, and a staff trained in how to use it, just like at Lake of the Woods. Another is that the term “hero” is indeed apt at times, even on the golf course. And a third is that I owe these guys a beer at the snack bar.
UPDATE (6-6-11): Chris Edmondson told me that a week ago, Jim Brandenburg was cleared to play golf again by his doctor. So Jim walked the Lake of the Woods Par 3 Course to get back in the swing of things, as it were. On the 100-yard 2nd hole, Brandenburg carded his first-ever hole-in-one. What a great get-well-soon gift!
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