This track, and specifically this lane at Golden West College, has big meaning to Javier Venegas. On January 25, 2017, he could’ve died when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.
“I think like on this number five lane or something right here because my other coach was standing right there," Javier said.
A coach began CPR while notifying someone to get the school’s athletic trainer. That was Pat Frohn who activated their emergency management plan.
He came out with an AED device, and on the second try, Javier had a pulse.
“It had shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm, but he was still unconscious," said Pat Frohn. "So he did start breathing and obviously it was a great relief.”
Unconscious still, he was brought by ambulance to the emergency room at Orange Coast Memorial where he was placed in a medically induced coma for two days and in the hospital for over a week.
Luckily for Javier, he’s alive today and now lives with a defibrillator inside his body. But this could’ve had a much different outcome.
California is the only state in the country that does not have licensure for athletic trainers, so ultimately it doesn’t guarantee protection for student-athletes, especially kids in high school and below.
“You know here in Orange County, you know there’s nothing that mandates that a certified athletic trainer is hired on campus on site for all of their practices and games, and unfortunately that puts our youth, our high school students at risk," Frohn said.
For over 30 years, legislation to create licensure for athletic trainers has gone to Sacramento, but none have passed. The latest bill AB 1592 aims to do just that, but it has a long way to go since it’s currently in the committee phase in the Assembly.
“If it wasn’t for the quality of the people we have at Golden West College who were right there on the spot for Javier, he would not have survived," Valerie Venegas said.
She works on campus and was there the day her son went into cardiac arrest. After everything she and her family have been through, she thinks that a bill like this should become law.
“This matters too much and we shouldn’t be stalling," she said. "We should be advocating for this to get done. It could be there child or nephew, their relative that pass away.”
And for Javier, he’ll always remember that day where Frohn kept him alive before the paramedics arrived.
“January 25th is a day he’ll never forget, I’ll never forget," Javier said. "Now it’s a connection that he and I share.”
If you would like to support this bill, you can visit www.ca-at.org to send a letter to your assemblyperson.