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updated: 9/14/2011 6:53 PM

Elk Grove personal trainer saves a second life

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  • Joe Pignone, a master personal trainer at the Pavilion Fitness Club in Elk Grove Village, saved the life of a man who had collapsed Saturday on the facility's indoor track. It is the second time in two years Pignone is being credited with saving a club member's life.

       Joe Pignone, a master personal trainer at the Pavilion Fitness Club in Elk Grove Village, saved the life of a man who had collapsed Saturday on the facility's indoor track. It is the second time in two years Pignone is being credited with saving a club member's life.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent

For most, saving another person's life would be a rare and monumental feat.

For Joe Pignone, a personal trainer at the Pavilion Fitness Club in Elk Grove Village, it's almost become just another part of the job.

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For the second time in two years, Pignone is being credited with reviving a person who collapsed in cardiac arrest while working out at the fitness club.

Pignone jumped into action Saturday when he found a club member slumped against a wall on the facility's indoor suspended track. After urging a co-worker to call the Elk Grove paramedics, he and other Elk Grove Park District employees flipped the man on his back.

Pignone started CPR before shocking the man with the center's automated external defibrillator.

"He had no pulse and was not breathing," said Pignone, who splits his days between the Pavilion and the Prairie Stone Sports & Wellness Center in Hoffman Estates. "Between the AED and the compressions, he came back."

Because of privacy regulations, Elk Grove Park District officials declined to release the name of the individual, but said they believe he continues to recover.

"We are very proud of Joe and all the employees who shared in the lifesaving activity on Saturday," said Tammy Miller, leisure services director.

Elk Grove Village Fire Department officials concur, adding that with the availability of the AED and of personnel certified to use it, all went according to plan.

"This ties into our community response strategy," said Interim Fire Chief Bill Balling. "Having certified people able to start resuscitation definitely plays a role in lifesaving strategies, and this was one of the success stories. There was a lot of professionalism shown by Joe and his staff."

Pignone has worked as a personal trainer at the Pavilion nearly since it opened 17 years ago. Before that, he served as a corporate fitness manager, and also worked at Bally's Total Fitness in Chicago.

Throughout all of his positions, Pignone has stayed current with his first aid certifications, never knowing when they may be needed.

"I must have earned my first CPR certification way back in college, but the only time I've ever needed it was during the last two years," he said.

His first rescue came in October 2009 at the Pavilion, when he and an off-duty paramedic revived a club member using CPR compressions and the center's defibrillator.

"He needed two shocks, but he came right back, too," Pignone said.

Elk Grove Park District officials recently promoted Pignone to the role of master trainer.

"Our Fitness Center staff is first-aid, CPR and AED certified," Miller said. "In fact, all of our full time employees at the Elk Grove Park District are as well."

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