When faced with a life and death situation, Joseph Martinez put his acquired skills to work, ultimately saving the life of one of his young students.
Martinez, a native of San Diego, is the son of Orlando and Mary Jo Martinez. He graduated from San Diego High School in 2008. After high school, he pursued his dream and landed a job at Reagan High School in San Antonio.
Martinez teaches a sports medicine class and is also the assistant athletic director at Reagan HS, but one January morning Martinez became a hero.
As Martinez began to work with athletes in the training room, two students rushed in frantic. The athletes told Martinez that 17-year-old Kaeyel Moore had collapsed on the gym floor just as the basketball team was warming up for practice.
Martinez, certified in CPR since 2006, put his knowledge to the test. Martinez and Coach John Hirst jumped into action.
“I didn't think of anything. My mind didn't go to 'hey, this kids is dying,'” Martinez said. “I could see him and I knew it was pretty serious. I just reacted. He wasn't breathing so I started my first rounds of comprehensions and gave him CPR. Once we used the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine to shock him I felt a heart beat. It was a relief to have him back with us.”
Martinez and Hirst were recently honored for saving the student athlete's life. They received a lifesaving award.
“I'm honored obviously,” Martinez said. “It's humbling to receive such as honor. With everything going on in the world it's nice to be a part of something positive.”
“I'm glad the young man gets to go back to school and live his life,” he said. “The ultimate reward is still having the kid with us.”