Healdsburg Coaches Provide Lifesaving Aide

Posted by Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Yet another Healdsburg coach proved the value of CPR training, as Travis Taylor showed calm under pressure in aiding varsity basketball player Omar Davila who collapsed during practice last week and is now recovering at Oakland Children’s Hospital.

Earlier in November, Healdsburg’s football team experienced a harrowing ride to Petaluma for a game when driver Carl Gianni suffered a heart attack. The running backs coach Pete Thomas performed CPR on Gianni – after getting him on the floor — as head coach Tom Kirkpatrick guided the bus to a stop in rush hour traffic on Highway 101.

All California state high school coaches are required to complete a CPR course. Taylor said he was recertified this spring and was ready to respond when Davila went down.

“I knew something was wrong. I saw his eyes glaze over before he hit the ground,” Taylor said.

His player unconscious, Taylor had an assistant call 911 and Taylor began pumping Avila’s chest and alternating with breathing into the youth’s mouth. Then a junior varsity player’s step father, Ray Sterling, assisted with the CPR.

“He was hanging on for dear life,” Taylor said. “Those were anxious moments. The whole team was huddled up.”

Healdsburg firefighters responded within 3 minutes and Avila was soon in an ambulance headed for Healdsburg District Hospital, Taylor said.

Healdsburg Fire Chief Steve Adams told the Healdsburg Tribune a quick response all around was critical.

“One is the high school staff witnessing the medical condition and immediately performing CPR; two is the Healdsburg Fire Department’s short response time with three firefighters; and three is the short response time of Bell’s Ambulance,” Adams said.

A week later, Davila remains at Oakland Children’s Hospital. Davila, a sophomore, is walking and talking again, sending text messages, and anxious for a return to school, Taylor said.