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posted: 12/4/2012 9:18 AM

Teen helps stricken girl at basketball game

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Associated Press

KOUTS, Ind. -- The lessons he learned in his EMT class came in handy for Spencer Finney during a basketball game at Kouts High School.

Finney, 17, a junior at Kouts, has attended the emergency medical technician vocational class in Hobart taught by Valparaiso firefighter Jeff Lawley since the beginning of the school year. Finney also operates the scoreboard for basketball games at Kouts High School and was doing so last Saturday when he heard his name being called.

It was a fairly dull junior varsity game because the Kouts team was losing by quite a bit to North Judson in the fourth quarter. Finney was talking to another person at the scorer's table when he heard his English teacher, Carol Flanigan, call him. Then he saw that a female student was lying face down on the gym floor.

Checking the unconscious girl's pulse and finding it to be rapid, he stabilized her spine before carefully turning her onto her back. Wanting to check her blood pressure, he first had to take the athletic director's keys to the nurse's office to retrieve the "crash bag" containing emergency medical supplies, ranging from aspirin and Band-Aids to a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope.

After he checked the BP, which he thought was a little high, two women who had been watching the game and noticed the apparent medical problem arrived and said they were nurses. One rechecked the BP and said it was normal, but, when Finney asked her to check again, she confirmed his earlier high reading, The Times reported.

The athletic trainer tried unsuccessfully to revive the girl using an alcohol swab as smelling salts. Two Kouts police officers arrived and called the town's fire department, bringing Fire Chief Don Sutter and firefighter George Chavez to the scene.

They too confirmed Finney's reading of her vital signs and, after putting a stabilizing collar on the girl's neck, placed her on a spine board to place her in the ambulance for transport to Porter Regional Hospital. She reportedly regained consciousness before reaching the hospital.

In a letter to Lawley, Flanigan said, "I have long depended upon Spencer to help with many tasks, but I never dreamed he would be my support in a medical emergency. He behaved as such a professional and because of this helped to also keep me in control."

Although it was his first experience putting his EMT training to use, Finney said, "I realized that, even though I was friends with her, the training taught me to remove my emotions and react in a professional manner to do my duty and hopefully save the person."

He said he's interested in continuing his training and becoming a full-time paramedic in the future.

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