Naperville Park District staff members helped save cardiac patient

  • Naperville Park District park specialists Joe Mantucca, left, Mike DiCristina and former temporary employee Matthew Mazzarella were honored at the Naperville Fire Department's Nov. 18 banquet for survivors of cardiac arrest for having helped save the life of a patient on a tennis court at the Nike Sports Complex on Sept. 9.

    Naperville Park District park specialists Joe Mantucca, left, Mike DiCristina and former temporary employee Matthew Mazzarella were honored at the Naperville Fire Department's Nov. 18 banquet for survivors of cardiac arrest for having helped save the life of a patient on a tennis court at the Nike Sports Complex on Sept. 9. Courtesy of Naperville Park District

  • The Naperville Park District board of commissioners recognized park specialists Joe Mantucca, left, Matthew Mazzarella and Mike DiCristina at a meeting in October for having helped save the life of a cardiac-arrest patient at the Nike Sports Complex on Sept. 9.

    The Naperville Park District board of commissioners recognized park specialists Joe Mantucca, left, Matthew Mazzarella and Mike DiCristina at a meeting in October for having helped save the life of a cardiac-arrest patient at the Nike Sports Complex on Sept. 9. Courtesy of Naperville Park District

 
 
Updated 11/30/2019 5:06 PM

A trio of current and former Naperville Park District employees was recently lauded for having contributed to the lifesaving efforts for a patron suffering a cardiac arrest on a tennis court at the Nike Sports Complex on Sept. 9.

Recognized by the Naperville Fire Department at a Nov. 18 banquet it hosted for survivors of cardiac arrest were Naperville Park District park specialists Mike DiCristina and Joe Mantucca, and Matthew Mazzarella, who was a temporary park specialist for the district at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Typical of heroes, DiCristina emphasizes the role he and his colleagues played was relatively small compared to the patient's friend who started the chest compressions, and the Naperville Fire Department paramedics who arrived in a timely fashion.

In between, the three park district employees used their first-aid training and the automated external defibrillator they knew how to quickly locate. In the midst of the "surreal" experience, paramedics seemed to arrive in the blink of an eye to apply their expertise, DiCristina said.

"Thank God for living in a town like this that has all the bells and whistles," he said.

DiCristina credits Mazzarella, who has since found permanent employment elsewhere, for being the first to recognize the distant sight of a person applying chest compressions to another as something not right.

Though the park district had generally heard about the positive progress of the cardiac arrest patient during the two months after the rescue, the honorees were especially gratified to see him and hear him make a short speech at the recent banquet, DiCristina said.

The banquet highlighted a record number of cardiac-arrest survivors in Naperville this year, many of whom benefitted from the fire department's use of new technology and methods.

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