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Thread: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

  1. #1
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    Cool Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    FIgured this was a nice letter to the editor in our local paper and it deserved to hit this website...



    Special folks

    I would like to convey a heartfelt thank you to the College Station community and to the administrative staff, coaching staff and players of A&M Consolidated High School. Despite having just learned of your own tragedy, your community was unbelievably helpful and compassionate after Westlake player Matt Nader collapsed on the sidelines Friday night. There was the retired DPS officer who gave me a ride to the hospital, the two fathers of players who offered Matt's family a place to stay, the man who brought ice coolers of drinks to the hospital and the countless others who came by the hospital to offer their prayers and well wishes. You are blessed to live in a loving, caring community.

    You are also blessed to have a man the caliber of Jim Slaughter working with your football players. Coach Slaughter understands the importance of winning, but he also knows the life lessons these young athletes learn are the real victories. Friday night, I hope everyone learned that life is more important than a football game. I also think the players realized that an opponent on the field can be a friend after the contest. The young men of these two teams will be bonded forever by the events of Friday night.

    The good news is that Matt is resting comfortably in South Austin Medical Hospital and has suffered no neurological or cardiac damage. He is continuing to undergo testing to determine the cause of the incident. No matter what the future holds, Matt has been blessed with a second chance, and he will make the most of it.

    As the days pass, know that you are remembered for the kindness that was shown and that the Westlake community will have you in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with your tragedy.

    DEREK LONG
    Athletic director and Head football coach,
    Westlake High School
    Austin

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Powerful stuff....Thanks for sharing it with us..
    "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time."

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Great stuff. I always knew that we had a great tiger family and this just proves it. And I am greatful to have been coached by Coach Slaughter and I am so glad that my brother is getting that oppourtunity too. He is a man that knows what it takes to win but knows that some times there is more than winning a football game and that is life!!!
    Proudest Member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class '07
    Lets Go aCm Tigers!! #68

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    What was A & M Consolidated's tragedy?

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by rangermum
    What was A & M Consolidated's tragedy?
    aCm didn't have one..

    Westlake's Matt Nader went into cardiac arrest on the sideline, and the game was 'called' as a tie..

    ~DnM

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Thanks for posting that ACM Dad.

    Quote Originally Posted by rangermum
    What was A & M Consolidated's tragedy?
    Ed King (on last year's Consolidated team) died in a multi-vehicle accident just outside of College Station on Hwy 6 earlier the same day...This is ACM dad's account of the day's events:
    http://www.5atexasfootball.com/forum...9&postcount=51

    BTW, welcome to the board, rangermum.

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by rangermum
    What was A & M Consolidated's tragedy?
    One of the A&M C Players was killed in an Auto accident the week before Edit
    Last edited by grayowl60; 09-22-2006 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    GAH!! My bad... I feel dumb now..



    Verrrrrry sorry, I thought we were just discussing the happenings @ the game.

    ~DnM

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Thanks for starting this thread and sharing the letter with everybody. It's great stuff

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by ACM Dad
    FIgured this was a nice letter to the editor in our local paper and it deserved to hit this website...



    Special folks

    I would like to convey a heartfelt thank you to the College Station community and to the administrative staff, coaching staff and players of A&M Consolidated High School. Despite having just learned of your own tragedy, your community was unbelievably helpful and compassionate after Westlake player Matt Nader collapsed on the sidelines Friday night. There was the retired DPS officer who gave me a ride to the hospital, the two fathers of players who offered Matt's family a place to stay, the man who brought ice coolers of drinks to the hospital and the countless others who came by the hospital to offer their prayers and well wishes. You are blessed to live in a loving, caring community.

    You are also blessed to have a man the caliber of Jim Slaughter working with your football players. Coach Slaughter understands the importance of winning, but he also knows the life lessons these young athletes learn are the real victories. Friday night, I hope everyone learned that life is more important than a football game. I also think the players realized that an opponent on the field can be a friend after the contest. The young men of these two teams will be bonded forever by the events of Friday night.

    The good news is that Matt is resting comfortably in South Austin Medical Hospital and has suffered no neurological or cardiac damage. He is continuing to undergo testing to determine the cause of the incident. No matter what the future holds, Matt has been blessed with a second chance, and he will make the most of it.

    As the days pass, know that you are remembered for the kindness that was shown and that the Westlake community will have you in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with your tragedy.

    DEREK LONG
    Athletic director and Head football coach,
    Westlake High School
    Austin
    I'm still confused..............I guess the way it's worded is confusing to me....cause it says "despite having just learned of your own tragedy"......but any way....what an awesome letter, and what an awesome community! God bless them all!

    Never mind, not confused anymore, I read the other posts.......so sad about the car accident.....thanks for clearing up the mixup.
    Last edited by rangermum; 09-22-2006 at 11:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by rangermum
    I'm still confused..............I guess the way it's worded is confusing to me....cause it says "despite having just learned of your own tragedy"......but any way....what an awesome letter, and what an awesome community! God bless them all!

    http://www.5atexasfootball.com/forum...ght=Matt+Nader Read this thread... somehwere on page 2 or 3 you will learn that an important member of the AMC 2005 football team died in a car accident just hours before the game. A lot of the AMC players, coaches, and the whole community was very close to him and obviously in pain from his loss. Just a sad situation.
    Deep down in his private heart, no man respects himself much.

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by SeguinMatadors
    http://www.5atexasfootball.com/forum...ght=Matt+Nader Read this thread... somehwere on page 2 or 3 you will learn that an important member of the AMC 2005 football team died in a car accident just hours before the game. A lot of the AMC players, coaches, and the whole community was very close to him and obviously in pain from his loss. Just a sad situation.
    Plenty of pain to go around this week. I'm so thankful that we didnt' have to add Matt's name to the list of folks that died here that day. Something about kids named Matt that I just like. Last year, our center, guard, tackle and tightend were all named Matt! It was awesome to see the lineup posted in the paper.

    Ed King will be sorely missed. Such a fantastic kid. If you ever met him and spent any time around him, you'd have loved him too.

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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Hey ya'll. The following Nader article was the lead story on the front page of the Austin American Statesman today. I thought that the AMC folks would want to read it. I guess the one good thing that may have come out of this incident is school districts will understand the value of an AED on the sidelines.

    Article here: http://www.statesman.com/sports/cont...2/22Nader.html

    There is also a nice selection of multimedia on the Statesman site including,

    Excerpt from the Westlake Radio Broadcast here: http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...t_from_we.html

    Photos here: http://www.statesman.com/sports/cont...aas/index.html

    Saving Matt: How many people saved a life on the sidelines
    A week ago, Westlake football player Matt Nader beat the clock and the odds
    .

    By Kevin Robbins and Rick Cantu
    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Matt Nader sat on the bench, his body afire. He unsnapped his helmet and drank. His dark, curly hair stuck in ringlets to his face. A trainer for the Westlake High School football team draped a wet towel over his neck.
    "Give me another one," Matt begged.
    He burned inside.
    "Another one," Matt demanded again.
    On the field at Tigerland Stadium in College Station, the Chaparrals had just tied A&M Consolidated 7-7 in a game of two Top 10-ranked teams in Class 5A. The Westlake offense spent seven grueling minutes in the 88-degree air, pushing 75 yards with Nader at offensive tackle.
    It was shortly before 8 p.m., when time didn't matter yet.
    Matt and his teammates rested on the bench, waiting for Steve Ramsey, who coaches the offensive line. Matt sat next to Dusty Davidson, his good friend, a fellow senior and teammate on the offensive line. Davidson noticed nothing unusual about Matt as they listened to Ramsey critique the 16-play drive capped by a game-tying, 1-yard touchdown run.
    Matt asked Ramsey about the first play: a sweep. He was supposed to block a defensive end.
    Did I block the right man? Matt asked.
    You did, Ramsey told his senior captain. You did a fine job out there.
    And then Matt fell on his back.
    Within seconds, the 4,500 people in the stadium knew that there was trouble behind the Westlake bench.
    A week ago tonight, Matt nearly died in his football uniform in the second quarter of the third game of his final season at Westlake. His young heart suddenly slipped into a condition called ventricular fibrillation, when the lower chambers lose their ability to pump blood.
    No one knew then what was wrong with Matt Nader.
    Not his coaches. Not his parents. Not the paramedics at Tigerland Stadium. Not the doctors in the bleachers whose sons played with Nader in what would be his last football game.
    But enough of them knew what to do and how, which is why Matt lived when most people don't.
    — — —
    'Coach Hawkins!"
    Brad Hawkins, the longtime Westlake athletic trainer, recognized Steve Ramsey's voice over the noise of the spectators behind him. But he'd never heard Ramsey's voice like that.
    Hawkins ran to Ramsey, who was watching Matt breathe. Hawkins saw Matt lying on his back, his shoes on the bench where he'd been sitting, like he'd been tipped over while asleep and didn't wake up. Hawkins saw Ramsey speaking to Matt.
    "Hang in there.
    "Don't leave us.
    "Stay with us.
    "Everything's going to be all right."
    Hawkins straddled Matt. Seizure, he thought. Hawkins saw that Matt was breathing. Has to be a seizure.
    Davidson, Matt's fellow offensive lineman, glanced at his friend's eyes. He saw nothing but white.
    Time crawled.
    Fifteen rows up on the Westlake side of the stadium, Barbara Bergin and Paul Nader heard another parent shout: "Barbara! Paul! Matt's down!"
    Bergin and Nader, both of them physicians in Austin, stood. Down on the bench, they saw a player in a white Westlake jersey lying on his back on the track. They saw his cleats propped oddly on the bench, as if he were having his shoes tied.
    They saw their son.
    The couple rushed down the bleachers. Spectators scattered, opening a path for them.
    Bergin kneeled to her son's left. She slapped his cheek. She chanted his name.
    Nothing.
    Her husband checked Matt's right wrist for a pulse.
    "Let's start CPR."
    Nader thumped his son's chest once. He began compressions — one, two, three, four, five.
    His wife put her lips on her son's and breathed.
    A few steps away, Ramsey moved Matt's helmet out of the way. He hustled the cheerleaders, some of them crying, toward the bleachers.
    Ramsey saw Barbara Bergin giving her son mouth-to-mouth.
    A wave of dread washed over his bones.
    — — —
    Michelle Tucker snapped the shutter.
    Tucker, a photographer and mother of a Westlake player, had trained her digital camera on Matt as he listened to Ramsey on the bench.
    She whirled. She wanted to retrieve the image on the back of her camera.
    Then she heard a noise.
    She turned and saw Matt's cleats on the bench. She saw Matt's mother on the track.
    Matt's mother was running.
    Tucker thought to herself, Where's Paul?
    Cardiologist Paul Tucker was sitting about halfway up on the Westlake side of the stadium, facing the 40-yard line and watching his son Justin, the Chaparrals' placekicker and free safety. Dr. Tucker stood when he heard a commotion near the Westlake bench.
    Behind him, anesthesiologist Greg Kronberg was watching his son Victor, a Westlake linebacker, through binoculars.
    Soon, everyone around him began to stand.
    Kronberg turned the binoculars to the activity near the bench. He saw Barbara Bergin trying to resuscitate her son.
    Kronberg poked Tucker.
    "I think we need to get down there."
    Kronberg and Tucker descended the bleachers and angled toward the gate that led to the field.
    They galloped through. They ran down the track to where Matt lay motionless, his cleats on the bench, his coaches and players locked in quiet prayer, his mother breathing for him and his father compressing his chest to keep his brain alive.
    Tucker sprinted toward Matt, shouting to no one and anyone: "Where's the defib? Where's the defib?"
    — — —
    Barbara Bergin and Paul Nader continued their work on their son.
    One push, two push, three push, four push, five.
    Breath.
    A few feet away, anesthesiologist Allen Dornak bounded the chain-link fence between the field and the bleachers, where he had been watching the game.
    Dornak reached Paul Nader.
    "How can I help?" Dornak asked.
    "Take over," Nader replied.
    Dornak, whose son Brad is a Westlake fullback, noted the pallor in Matt's dusky cheeks. He later would say that Matt bore "the look of death."
    He took over for Matt's father, pushing blood into Matt's brain.
    Tucker and Kronberg, the other doctors with sons on the team, arrived as Dornak began his task. Kronberg relieved Matt's mother and supplied the breaths to Matt. Tucker asked aloud for the AED — the automated external defibrillator that he knew the team took to games.
    Hawkins, the team trainer, fetched it from the splint kit behind the bench. The AED always traveled in the splint kit.
    Westlake obtained the AED four years ago. It had never been used until Friday night.
    The doctors at Matt's side checked again for a pulse.
    On the wrist: Nothing.
    On the neck: No.
    On the leg: No.
    "I can't feel a pulse," Dornak heard Tucker bark.
    Dornak cut off Matt's white No. 70 jersey with a pair of sturdy scissors, slicing through the straps on Matt's shoulder pads.
    Someone threw a towel. The doctors wiped Matt's body clean of sweat.
    Tucker applied the pads from the AED that would deliver the shock that he prayed would save Matt's life.
    "Get back!" Matt's parents heard Tucker shout.
    It seemed surreal, Tucker thought, shouting at friends and fellow parents of football players to keep a distance so that he could shock Matt Nader back to life. All those people, hushed, watching. It seemed like it couldn't be happening.
    But he lectured himself: "No, damn it. It is happening. And we've got to do our jobs."
    "Get back!" Tucker shouted.
    The common AED, a $2,000 device that anyone can operate, communicates to the person using it. Unlike more sophisticated defibrillators that doctors and EMS personnel are trained to use, the AED detects a patient's heart rhythm and activates the 200 joules of electricity only if the machine determines the heart needs it.
    A light on the AED activates if a distressed heart is detected.
    On Friday night, that light went on.
    — — —
    Far from the team benches, College Station firefighter and paramedic Joseph Jamieson stood on the track behind a goal post, watching the game with his partner, Lt. Mike Ruesink. When he saw the gathering beginning to form 50 yards away around Matt, Jamieson thought: Who got hurt?
    Jamieson started to walk to the Westlake bench. Then he heard a police officer say something about "CPR in progress."
    Jamieson began to run.
    He yelled to Ruesink to order a second ambulance. Jamieson reached Matt about the time Tucker was applying the AED. He looked at Matt.
    The 6-6, 300-pound player's face was pale. His lips were blue.
    Everyone — Matt's parents, the doctors treating Matt — took their hands away for a moment. They were quiet.
    Tucker pressed the button. Matt's body heaved.
    "Greg!" Paul Nader, Matt's father, said to Dornak. "We need an airway!"
    Tucker looked up.
    "Paul, he's got a pulse," Nader heard the cardiologist say.
    "He's starting to breathe."
    The other ambulance and a firetruck arrived at 8:02 p.m. from Fire Station No. 2 across the street from Tigerland Stadium. The crew of Marvin Wagener, Lance Williams and Jason Murrell rushed to Matt with an electrocardiograph and a breathing mask.
    Jamieson, the first paramedic to reach Matt, noticed the EKG reading. Matt's heart was beating again.
    Matt's eyes fluttered.
    The paramedics put Matt in the ambulance. It was nearing 8:10 p.m. Matt began to speak.
    "Did I get to play?" Jamieson heard Matt ask. "How did I do?"
    Paul Nader rode with his son to the hospital. Before the ambulance left, Nader's eyes met Matt's.
    Matt raised his right thumb.
    Dr. Nader raised his thumb back.
    Matt doesn't remember that.
    His father will never forget it.
    — — —
    On the other side of the field, A&M Consolidated head coach Jim Slaughter saw his team doctor return to the A&M bench from the frenzy on the Westlake sideline.
    "Jim, that kid was revived," Slaughter heard the doctor say.
    "Thank God," Slaughter said.
    Westlake head coach Derek Long gathered his assistant coaches after Matt left in the ambulance. Should we play, Long asked them.
    They took a poll. No, they decided, we shouldn't play.
    Long informed the players. Some of them wanted to continue the game — Matt would want us to, they correctly reasoned — but Long steadied a gaze in their direction and said, "There's a lot that's more important than a football game. And family is more important."
    Long's players shook hands with Slaughter's. Then some Westlake and A&M Consolidated players circled together on the field.
    Justin Tucker, the son of the cardiologist and photographer, led a prayer for Matt. Other players led prayers of their own. They prayed out loud, players for both teams in tight on a hot Texas night, arms on shoulder pads, eyes shut tight. They recited the Lord's Prayer and disbanded in silence.
    "People, just willing that child to stay alive," Michelle Tucker would later remember.
    The Westlake players retreated to the dressing room. Parents were invited to join them. Some of the families followed Matt to the hospital.
    Bottles of water arrived in coolers delivered to the emergency room by A&M Consolidated parents after Matt arrived at 8:16 p.m. About 40 people from Westlake waited for word.
    Davidson — the senior who saw the whites of Matt's eyes after he fell — emerged from the treatment area.
    "He's OK," Davidson announced. "Everything's going to be fine."
    Relief filled the waiting room. Cell phones were dialed, parents calling other parents who had left for Austin.
    Good news, they said.
    — — —
    Matt Nader survived. He now has an internal defibrillator in his chest, surgically implanted Monday at South Austin Hospital. He can never play football again. Not for Westlake his senior season. Not for the University of Texas, where he had committed to play. Not in the NFL, which, he said in August, he dreamed of doing.
    But he can do most anything else.
    On Wednesday, Matt returned to school. The sign in his front yard in Rollingwood — the one bearing his name and varsity number — remains planted in the grass.
    A long banner faces the street. It's been signed by so many people, athletes and friends and old women who walk the shady neighborhood in the morning, that room for another message is getting scarce.
    A football player lived there once.
    He still does.
    krobbins@statesman.com; 445-3602
    rcantu@statesman.com; 445-3953
    Last edited by chapadelic; 09-22-2006 at 01:08 PM.

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    All-Universe SeguinMatadors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by chapadelic
    Hey ya'll. The following Nader article was the lead story on the front page of the Austin American Statesman today. I thought that the AMC folks would want to read it. I guess the one good thing that may have come out of this incident is school districts will understand the value of an AED on the sidelines.

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/cont...2/22Nader.html

    Saving Matt: How many people saved a life on the sidelines
    A week ago, Westlake football player Matt Nader beat the clock and the odds
    .

    By Kevin Robbins and Rick Cantu
    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Matt Nader sat on the bench, his body afire. He unsnapped his helmet and drank. His dark, curly hair stuck in ringlets to his face. A trainer for the Westlake High School football team draped a wet towel over his neck.
    "Give me another one," Matt begged.
    He burned inside.
    "Another one," Matt demanded again.
    On the field at Tigerland Stadium in College Station, the Chaparrals had just tied A&M Consolidated 7-7 in a game of two Top 10-ranked teams in Class 5A. The Westlake offense spent seven grueling minutes in the 88-degree air, pushing 75 yards with Nader at offensive tackle.
    It was shortly before 8 p.m., when time didn't matter yet.
    Matt and his teammates rested on the bench, waiting for Steve Ramsey, who coaches the offensive line. Matt sat next to Dusty Davidson, his good friend, a fellow senior and teammate on the offensive line. Davidson noticed nothing unusual about Matt as they listened to Ramsey critique the 16-play drive capped by a game-tying, 1-yard touchdown run.
    Matt asked Ramsey about the first play: a sweep. He was supposed to block a defensive end.
    Did I block the right man? Matt asked.
    You did, Ramsey told his senior captain. You did a fine job out there.
    And then Matt fell on his back.
    Within seconds, the 4,500 people in the stadium knew that there was trouble behind the Westlake bench.
    A week ago tonight, Matt nearly died in his football uniform in the second quarter of the third game of his final season at Westlake. His young heart suddenly slipped into a condition called ventricular fibrillation, when the lower chambers lose their ability to pump blood.
    No one knew then what was wrong with Matt Nader.
    Not his coaches. Not his parents. Not the paramedics at Tigerland Stadium. Not the doctors in the bleachers whose sons played with Nader in what would be his last football game.
    But enough of them knew what to do and how, which is why Matt lived when most people don't.

    'Coach Hawkins!"
    Brad Hawkins, the longtime Westlake athletic trainer, recognized Steve Ramsey's voice over the noise of the spectators behind him. But he'd never heard Ramsey's voice like that.
    Hawkins ran to Ramsey, who was watching Matt breathe. Hawkins saw Matt lying on his back, his shoes on the bench where he'd been sitting, like he'd been tipped over while asleep and didn't wake up. Hawkins saw Ramsey speaking to Matt.
    "Hang in there.
    "Don't leave us.
    "Stay with us.
    "Everything's going to be all right."
    Hawkins straddled Matt. Seizure, he thought. Hawkins saw that Matt was breathing. Has to be a seizure.
    Davidson, Matt's fellow offensive lineman, glanced at his friend's eyes. He saw nothing but white.
    Time crawled.
    Fifteen rows up on the Westlake side of the stadium, Barbara Bergin and Paul Nader heard another parent shout: "Barbara! Paul! Matt's down!"
    Bergin and Nader, both of them physicians in Austin, stood. Down on the bench, they saw a player in a white Westlake jersey lying on his back on the track. They saw his cleats propped oddly on the bench, as if he were having his shoes tied.
    They saw their son.
    The couple rushed down the bleachers. Spectators scattered, opening a path for them.
    Bergin kneeled to her son's left. She slapped his cheek. She chanted his name.
    Nothing.
    Her husband checked Matt's right wrist for a pulse.
    "Let's start CPR."
    Nader thumped his son's chest once. He began compressions one, two, three, four, five.
    His wife put her lips on her son's and breathed.
    A few steps away, Ramsey moved Matt's helmet out of the way. He hustled the cheerleaders, some of them crying, toward the bleachers.
    Ramsey saw Barbara Bergin giving her son mouth-to-mouth.
    A wave of dread washed over his bones.

    Michelle Tucker snapped the shutter.
    Tucker, a photographer and mother of a Westlake player, had trained her digital camera on Matt as he listened to Ramsey on the bench.
    She whirled. She wanted to retrieve the image on the back of her camera.
    Then she heard a noise.
    She turned and saw Matt's cleats on the bench. She saw Matt's mother on the track.
    Matt's mother was running.
    Tucker thought to herself, Where's Paul?
    Cardiologist Paul Tucker was sitting about halfway up on the Westlake side of the stadium, facing the 40-yard line and watching his son Justin, the Chaparrals' placekicker and free safety. Dr. Tucker stood when he heard a commotion near the Westlake bench.
    Behind him, anesthesiologist Greg Kronberg was watching his son Victor, a Westlake linebacker, through binoculars.
    Soon, everyone around him began to stand.
    Kronberg turned the binoculars to the activity near the bench. He saw Barbara Bergin trying to resuscitate her son.
    Kronberg poked Tucker.
    "I think we need to get down there."
    Kronberg and Tucker descended the bleachers and angled toward the gate that led to the field.
    They galloped through. They ran down the track to where Matt lay motionless, his cleats on the bench, his coaches and players locked in quiet prayer, his mother breathing for him and his father compressing his chest to keep his brain alive.
    Tucker sprinted toward Matt, shouting to no one and anyone: "Where's the defib? Where's the defib?"

    Barbara Bergin and Paul Nader continued their work on their son.
    One push, two push, three push, four push, five.
    Breath.
    A few feet away, anesthesiologist Allen Dornak bounded the chain-link fence between the field and the bleachers, where he had been watching the game.
    Dornak reached Paul Nader.
    "How can I help?" Dornak asked.
    "Take over," Nader replied.
    Dornak, whose son Brad is a Westlake fullback, noted the pallor in Matt's dusky cheeks. He later would say that Matt bore "the look of death."
    He took over for Matt's father, pushing blood into Matt's brain.
    Tucker and Kronberg, the other doctors with sons on the team, arrived as Dornak began his task. Kronberg relieved Matt's mother and supplied the breaths to Matt. Tucker asked aloud for the AED the automated external defibrillator that he knew the team took to games.
    Hawkins, the team trainer, fetched it from the splint kit behind the bench. The AED always traveled in the splint kit.
    Westlake obtained the AED four years ago. It had never been used until Friday night.
    The doctors at Matt's side checked again for a pulse.
    On the wrist: Nothing.
    On the neck: No.
    On the leg: No.
    "I can't feel a pulse," Dornak heard Tucker bark.
    Dornak cut off Matt's white No. 70 jersey with a pair of sturdy scissors, slicing through the straps on Matt's shoulder pads.
    Someone threw a towel. The doctors wiped Matt's body clean of sweat.
    Tucker applied the pads from the AED that would deliver the shock that he prayed would save Matt's life.
    "Get back!" Matt's parents heard Tucker shout.
    It seemed surreal, Tucker thought, shouting at friends and fellow parents of football players to keep a distance so that he could shock Matt Nader back to life. All those people, hushed, watching. It seemed like it couldn't be happening.
    But he lectured himself: "No, damn it. It is happening. And we've got to do our jobs."
    "Get back!" Tucker shouted.
    The common AED, a $2,000 device that anyone can operate, communicates to the person using it. Unlike more sophisticated defibrillators that doctors and EMS personnel are trained to use, the AED detects a patient's heart rhythm and activates the 200 joules of electricity only if the machine determines the heart needs it.
    A light on the AED activates if a distressed heart is detected.
    On Friday night, that light went on.

    Far from the team benches, College Station firefighter and paramedic Joseph Jamieson stood on the track behind a goal post, watching the game with his partner, Lt. Mike Ruesink. When he saw the gathering beginning to form 50 yards away around Matt, Jamieson thought: Who got hurt?
    Jamieson started to walk to the Westlake bench. Then he heard a police officer say something about "CPR in progress."
    Jamieson began to run.
    He yelled to Ruesink to order a second ambulance. Jamieson reached Matt about the time Tucker was applying the AED. He looked at Matt.
    The 6-6, 300-pound player's face was pale. His lips were blue.
    Everyone Matt's parents, the doctors treating Matt took their hands away for a moment. They were quiet.
    Tucker pressed the button. Matt's body heaved.
    "Greg!" Paul Nader, Matt's father, said to Dornak. "We need an airway!"
    Tucker looked up.
    "Paul, he's got a pulse," Nader heard the cardiologist say.
    "He's starting to breathe."
    The other ambulance and a firetruck arrived at 8:02 p.m. from Fire Station No. 2 across the street from Tigerland Stadium. The crew of Marvin Wagener, Lance Williams and Jason Murrell rushed to Matt with an electrocardiograph and a breathing mask.
    Jamieson, the first paramedic to reach Matt, noticed the EKG reading. Matt's heart was beating again.
    Matt's eyes fluttered.
    The paramedics put Matt in the ambulance. It was nearing 8:10 p.m. Matt began to speak.
    "Did I get to play?" Jamieson heard Matt ask. "How did I do?"
    Paul Nader rode with his son to the hospital. Before the ambulance left, Nader's eyes met Matt's.
    Matt raised his right thumb.
    Dr. Nader raised his thumb back.
    Matt doesn't remember that.
    His father will never forget it.

    On the other side of the field, A&M Consolidated head coach Jim Slaughter saw his team doctor return to the A&M bench from the frenzy on the Westlake sideline.
    "Jim, that kid was revived," Slaughter heard the doctor say.
    "Thank God," Slaughter said.
    Westlake head coach Derek Long gathered his assistant coaches after Matt left in the ambulance. Should we play, Long asked them.
    They took a poll. No, they decided, we shouldn't play.
    Long informed the players. Some of them wanted to continue the game Matt would want us to, they correctly reasoned but Long steadied a gaze in their direction and said, "There's a lot that's more important than a football game. And family is more important."
    Long's players shook hands with Slaughter's. Then some Westlake and A&M Consolidated players circled together on the field.
    Justin Tucker, the son of the cardiologist and photographer, led a prayer for Matt. Other players led prayers of their own. They prayed out loud, players for both teams in tight on a hot Texas night, arms on shoulder pads, eyes shut tight. They recited the Lord's Prayer and disbanded in silence.
    "People, just willing that child to stay alive," Michelle Tucker would later remember.
    The Westlake players retreated to the dressing room. Parents were invited to join them. Some of the families followed Matt to the hospital.
    Bottles of water arrived in coolers delivered to the emergency room by A&M Consolidated parents after Matt arrived at 8:16 p.m. About 40 people from Westlake waited for word.
    Davidson the senior who saw the whites of Matt's eyes after he fell emerged from the treatment area.
    "He's OK," Davidson announced. "Everything's going to be fine."
    Relief filled the waiting room. Cell phones were dialed, parents calling other parents who had left for Austin.
    Good news, they said.

    Matt Nader survived. He now has an internal defibrillator in his chest, surgically implanted Monday at South Austin Hospital. He can never play football again. Not for Westlake his senior season. Not for the University of Texas, where he had committed to play. Not in the NFL, which, he said in August, he dreamed of doing.
    But he can do most anything else.
    On Wednesday, Matt returned to school. The sign in his front yard in Rollingwood the one bearing his name and varsity number remains planted in the grass.
    A long banner faces the street. It's been signed by so many people, athletes and friends and old women who walk the shady neighborhood in the morning, that room for another message is getting scarce.
    A football player lived there once.
    He still does.
    krobbins@statesman.com; 445-3602
    rcantu@statesman.com; 445-3953

    Yeah, there was another thread on that already... that stuff sends chills through your body.
    Deep down in his private heart, no man respects himself much.

  15. #15
    All-Interweb svhorns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Quote Originally Posted by ACM Dad
    FIgured this was a nice letter to the editor in our local paper and it deserved to hit this website...



    Special folks

    I would like to convey a heartfelt thank you to the College Station community and to the administrative staff, coaching staff and players of A&M Consolidated High School. Despite having just learned of your own tragedy, your community was unbelievably helpful and compassionate after Westlake player Matt Nader collapsed on the sidelines Friday night. There was the retired DPS officer who gave me a ride to the hospital, the two fathers of players who offered Matt's family a place to stay, the man who brought ice coolers of drinks to the hospital and the countless others who came by the hospital to offer their prayers and well wishes. You are blessed to live in a loving, caring community.

    You are also blessed to have a man the caliber of Jim Slaughter working with your football players. Coach Slaughter understands the importance of winning, but he also knows the life lessons these young athletes learn are the real victories. Friday night, I hope everyone learned that life is more important than a football game. I also think the players realized that an opponent on the field can be a friend after the contest. The young men of these two teams will be bonded forever by the events of Friday night.

    The good news is that Matt is resting comfortably in South Austin Medical Hospital and has suffered no neurological or cardiac damage. He is continuing to undergo testing to determine the cause of the incident. No matter what the future holds, Matt has been blessed with a second chance, and he will make the most of it.

    As the days pass, know that you are remembered for the kindness that was shown and that the Westlake community will have you in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with your tragedy.

    DEREK LONG
    Athletic director and Head football coach,
    Westlake High School
    Austin
    A&M Consolidated and Westlake could not have handle this whole situatuion any better... both coaches had their heads on straight... everything just picture perfect... If I could clap through the computer I would...
    S M I T H S O N V A L L E Y

    R A N G E R S

  16. #16
    All-American Oiler99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    thats a great story and GOD BLESS!!

  17. #17
    All-Universe clemensbuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    AWESOME! Two great football programs but even more important - two great communities! God bless everyone that is hurting.
    Cibolo Steele Knights
    2010 5a D2 State Champions!!!
    2011 5a D2 State Finalist
    Winners of last 54 of 58 games

  18. #18
    All-State
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    Default Re: Westlake Coach Open Letter to College Station

    Wow - what a terrific letter. It certainly says volumes about the coach, but it also magnifies the underlying reasons for playing sports - sportsmanship and camaraderie. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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