Rockdale High JV baseball player Alex Norwood, left, and Coach Jerrid Harris witnessed an umpire suffering a massive heart attack at a Friday night game at Newton High. Norwood performed his recently learned CPR skills on the ump until EMTs took over. (Staff photo: Ryan McKenzie)
CONYERS – It is usually the umpire’s job to determine a player’s move as “safe,” but a junior varsity baseball game at Newton High on Friday evening had a player calling the safety shots on an umpire.
The Rockdale High Bulldogs were playing against the Newton High Rams at Newton’s baseball field on Friday night when the umpire suffered a massive heart attack during the second inning. Alex Norwood, a Rockdale junior, was in the right place at the right time to implement his newly learned CPR skills. Two weeks after learning the technique for lifeguard certification, Norwood performed CPR on the umpire until two off-duty EMTs who were spectators stepped in and took over.
“I had just learned CPR at the Marist School pool,” said Norwood.
According to Bulldogs coach Jerrid Harris, Newton County officials arrived on the scene about 15 to 20 minutes after the umpire went down.
“He had a massive heart attack,” said Harris. “He’s had one before apparently. He had had heart surgery before, we could tell that once we got his shirt and his chest plate and everything off when we were doing CPR.”
Harris, who is also Norwood’s U.S. history teacher, went on to add that the umpire was initially taken to Newton Medical Center, and then later airlifted to Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta. As of Monday, his condition was reported as stable. He reportedly is expected to recover.
Harris also stated that although players are not required to know CPR, coaches must be certified in it as well as first aid and AED. He and the Rams coach decided to reschedule the game after the umpire’s collapse.