Area hockey player saved thanks to quick-thinking teammates

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 6:50 PM CST
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The ‘Mighty Docs’ is a hockey team that started with a group of doctors from Mayo Clinic Health System. Now the team is coed and has players from many different professions, but it still maintains its goal of giving back, and this past Sunday, it was to help one of their own teammates in an urgent situation.

“It's more than just the game,” a motto the ‘Mighty Docs’ has carried with them for the past eighteen years, focusing on charities like the American Cancer Society and raising money for their local hockey arena.

"We have a great time out on the ice. We have varying levels of skill. We have players that have played their entire life and players that didn't start playing until they were in their 40's and even some in their 50's,” says Ryan Flaig, a player on the Docs.

But last Sunday during a night that seemed like any other, the second period had just ended and the Docs were taking a break on the bench, the unthinkable happened. One of their teammates had a heart attack and collapsed.

“I saw one of our players laying on the floor, not breathing, no heartbeat,” says Flaig.

But remember what the team was made up of?

“Fortunately as I said, we are the Mighty Docs,” says Flaig. “We had two very skilled doctors that were there right on the spot.”

That's where Dr. Dexter and Dr. Roberts came in.

“It was a real team effort,” says teammate Dr. Donn Dexter of Mayo Clinic Health System.

“It was great because Pat actually said, ‘are you getting tired?’ When I was doing compressions and I hadn't thought about it, but I was really getting tired,” he said. “So having somebody kind of anticipates that was one of the values of the training.”

The two performing CPR and using an AED machine until first responders arrived.

“By the time they got him up on the cart and were wheeling him out he was able to put a thumbs up in the air and it turned it from a little bit of panic and somberness to sort of a joyous celebration that he'd made it,” says Dr. Dexter.

Now, the two are stressing their motto that it's not just about hockey.

“I think it's an easy skill to learn. Non-medical people can easily take a class and learn those skills,” says Dr. Roberts. “I think it can make a real difference in outcomes for people who have these types of events.”

“Being able to help a teammate and maybe spreading a message about the importance of CPR and having AEDs,” says Dr. Dexter. “If that message gets out, that's great.”

The patient, a 56-year-old man, chose not to be identified. Mayo Clinic Health System says he is currently in stable condition.