A member of a senior softball team was saved a few weeks ago through the quick thinking of his teammates when he had a heart attack.

Joe Erion, a Northland resident, had lost consciousness and had stopped breathing May 24 on a field at McCord Park, 333 E. Wilson Bridge Road in Worthington. Five of his teammates in the Central Ohio 65's Senior Softball League sprang into action and performed CPR, grabbed the league's automated external defibrillator and called 911.

Steve Clemmons of Columbus, Carl Rankin of Westerville, Doug Sanderson of Buckeye Lake, Bob Scholz of Etna and Fred Thivener of Delaware were honored July 1 by the Worthington Fire and Emergency Medical Services Division and Worthington City Council for their efforts on the ball field.

Thivener, a teammate who helped assist with CPR and using the AED, described what happened.

"He still had his glove on his hand, no pulse," Thivener said. "We asked people around to go call 911."

He said the five men knew how to respond because they were former firefighters, paramedics and police officers.

Thivener said he saw Clemmons performing CPR. He said he and Sanderson hooked up the AED.

"That machine will tell you what to do," he said.

An AED is used to help someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, according to redcross.org. The easy-to-use medical device can analyze the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart reestablish an effective rhythm, according to the website.

Thivener said the men continued to perform CPR until Worthington medics arrived to transport him to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.

Erion said he does not remember much from the incident.

"There was no tunnel; there was no light," he said. "I just woke up the next day in the middle of the hospital."

Erion said he is thankful for the quick action of his teammates and also is happy they are being recognized.

"I think it's great Worthington honored these guys," he said.

Some safety changes have been made because of the incident to make things safer for all players, Thivener said. All leagues for players older than 65 will have emergency contacts for all participants, and the league's AED and a first-aid kit will be placed on an open table for easier access.

Kirk Ainger, organizer of the league, said a free training session on how to use an AED will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Worthington's Community Center, 345 E. Wilson Bridge Road. Ainger said Worthington fire Lt. Michael Duncan will lead the session, which is open to the public.

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