Suburban Heroes: Off-duty cops help save Arlington Heights man at floor hockey match

  • Jason Anderson, center, and his 10-year-old son Dominic got to meet the two men who helped save Anderson's life -- Hoffman Estates Police Officer Joe Jennings, left, and Hanover Park Police Officer Seth Berlin, right.

    Jason Anderson, center, and his 10-year-old son Dominic got to meet the two men who helped save Anderson's life -- Hoffman Estates Police Officer Joe Jennings, left, and Hanover Park Police Officer Seth Berlin, right. Photo courtesy of Jason Anderson

 
 

The quick thinking and professional training of two off-duty suburban police officers helped save the life of a 43-year-old father of three from Arlington Heights after he collapsed during a game of floor hockey at Evergreen School in Carol Stream.

The last thing Jason Anderson remembers before losing consciousness on May 28 is that he felt dizzy as he walked off the court.

"I guess I sat on the floor and then laid back," Anderson said. "The guys on my team noticed, and they thought I was joking and then realized something was wrong."

Anderson's teammates yelled for help -- and luckily Hoffman Estates Police Officer Joe Jennings and Hanover Park Police Officer Seth Berlin were there to provide it. Jennings and Berlin, who've been friends since college, were playing for the other team.

Some of Anderson's teammates told the officers they thought he was having a seizure, something he'd never done before.

"I've dealt with seizures right in front of me, and I wasn't seeing the same symptoms," Berlin said, noting Anderson was turning blue. "It didn't appear to either of us that he was breathing. That's when we went right into CPR mode."

Jennings began chest compressions and Berlin prepared the AED defibrillator. They shocked him with the device once. After about a minute more of chest compressions, Anderson's eyes began to open. Shortly after he came to, paramedics arrived and rushed Anderson to a hospital.

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"It could've been two minutes, it could've been 10 minutes," Jennings said of the experience.

Anderson ended up needing double bypass surgery. While he was in recovery, Jennings and Berlin came to visit him. Anderson said he struggled to find the words to tell the men how much he appreciates what they did.

Jennings and Berlin said they were glad to have been in the right place at the right time.

"I'm glad we were able to do the right thing," Jennings said. "It didn't matter that I was a cop. I could have (done) retail or worked at a newspaper, I would have done it the same because I had the training to do it."

Anderson's family wrote letters praising Jennings and Berlin to their supervisors.

"It's very humbling; it really puts in perspective how precious life is," Berlin said. "One moment we're out there playing a hockey game like we've done our whole lives and, in a snap of a finger, this took place.

"It's a reminder not to take any moment for granted because you never know," Berlin said.

• Do you know any Suburban Heroes? Share your story at heroes@dailyherald.com.

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