Group effort saves man suffering cardiac arrest at Palatine golf course

  • Staff members who helped in the effort to save a player who went into cardiac arrest on July 4 at Palatine Hills Golf Course joined village park board President John "Jay" Cozza, middle, for a photo after a recent meeting. From left, starter Bruce Stegman, assistant golf professional Erik Klebosits, golfer Karl Stevens and golf operations manager and head pro Dan Hotchkin.

    Staff members who helped in the effort to save a player who went into cardiac arrest on July 4 at Palatine Hills Golf Course joined village park board President John "Jay" Cozza, middle, for a photo after a recent meeting. From left, starter Bruce Stegman, assistant golf professional Erik Klebosits, golfer Karl Stevens and golf operations manager and head pro Dan Hotchkin. Courtesy of Palatine Park District

  • This is the first hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course, where a golfer and six employees played a role in helping save a player who went into cardiac arrest shortly after his opening tee shot on July 4.

      This is the first hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course, where a golfer and six employees played a role in helping save a player who went into cardiac arrest shortly after his opening tee shot on July 4. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • A golfer and six employees rushed into action July 4 when a man suffered cardiac arrest after teeing off on the first hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course.

    A golfer and six employees rushed into action July 4 when a man suffered cardiac arrest after teeing off on the first hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course. Bob Susnjara/bsusnjara@daiyherald.com

 
 
Updated 9/7/2019 7:19 PM

Golf may be an individual sport, but it took a team of seven working together to save a golfer who suffered cardiac arrest this summer shortly after teeing off on the first hole at Palatine Hills Golf Course.

Palatine Park District board members honored the seven -- one another golfer and six course employees -- for their quick lifesaving actions the morning of July 4 at the district's 18-hole course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Assistant golf professional Erik Klebosits said he was in the pro shop when starter Bruce Stegman, from his spot near the first tee box, called over a radio that the player was down. Klebosits said he immediately called 911, set the telephone receiver down and radioed back to Stegman that he had summoned help and was headed over with an automated external defibrillator.

"He had just teed off and was walking down the slope to the fairway ... to where his ball was when he had collapsed, when his heart gave," Klebosits said.

Karl Stevens, who was part of the downed golfer's group, began CPR. Klebosits said he began checking the 64-year-old Palatine man's condition when he arrived and then used the AED.

"I've got the AED on him and I started doing CPR -- and I didn't even get through one full round of CPR and the policemen had already arrived at that point," Klebosits said. "And then I was administering the shocks with the AED while ... two of the policemen are tag-teaming doing the CPR in between the time the AED was analyzing and applying the shocks."

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Park officials said Palatine Hills employee Woody Werderits stayed on phone with 911 to relay information after Klebosits went to the first hole.

Another worker, Ken Smith, went to Palatine Hills' entrance to direct first responders to the course. Golf operations manager and head pro Dan Hotchkin and superintendent Brad Helms then directed an ambulance to the specific area on the first hole where the player needed help.

Fire department Deputy Chief Scott Mackeben said the group effort "made all the difference in the world," adding that early cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED use are crucial to survival in cardiac arrest cases.

"A golf course is a tough location for first responders to get to the individual in a timely manner," Mackeben said. "When you look at the information that the park district provided, they all played an important role in the chain of survival. Without all of those individuals' efforts, the outcome could not have been as positive."

Klebosits, who's been at Palatine Hills since 1998, said it was the first time he put his emergency medical training into action. The golf course staff went over key points of CPR and the AED just before opening this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was one of those, you're trained on what to do and you just stay focused and you try not to overthink," Klebosits said.

Palatine Hills has a one AED in the pro shop and another in a cart with a ranger who travels the course.

The man who went into cardiac arrest in July has indicated he wants to donate a device to be placed in an area of the course farthest from the pro shop and clubhouse. He is said to be recovering and cleared for rehabilitation.

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