Timbers Army's Old Growth FC plays match, helps save a life

17 October 10:16 am

Timbers Army's Old Growth FC plays match, helps save a life

By Brian Costello

Last weekend, on a soccer pitch in SE Portland, two over-forty teams came together first to play a match. At halftime, they were then called upon to save a life.

Old Growth FC—one of the Timbers Army’s network of amateur clubs
in the Greater Portland Soccer District (GPSD)—was playing Celtic FC when one of Celtic’s players, Gheorghe Lupu, slumped at halftime of their match with what appeared to be a heart attack.

The Oregonian and KATU both have stories profiling the quick thinking of teammates Dr. David Silvestre who performed CPR, Emile Lemoine who ran into a nearby school to find a portable defibrillator, and Old Growth FC’s Dale Montgomery—a trained paramedic—who administered the automated external defibrillator (AED) all working together to save his life.

PortlandTimbers.com contributor and Old Growth FC member Kip Kesgard was playing in this game. This is his story:

I was walking off the pitch at halftime where they were up 3 goals to none. As I walked past their bench, I saw them surrounding one player that seemed to be struggling a bit while sitting down, but I didn't think much initially. I grabbed my water bottle as Rustam, our coach was calling us over to the halftime huddle when I saw the activity at the Celtic FC bench start to get more feverish. The player [Lupu] having issues was now laying on the ground and his face was purple. I said to the coach, "I think there's something serious going on over at the bench," when at the same time, they started calling for anyone that knew CPR as the player had lost consciousness and wasn't breathing. Dale, one of our defenders, is a paramedic, so he immediately headed over to assist along with Rustam who was CPR trained. Others started calling 911.

We were all worried when the initial compressions didn't seem to be working and Dale suddenly took off for his car for something. I followed him while I heard footsteps and somebody from Celtic FC was behind me running asking if Dale had one of those things to shock people's chest. I yelled a defibrillator, and Dale said no, but check inside the school. As the Celtic player [Lemoine] ran to the gym, Dale grabbed a small portable plastic mask which I assumed was to help with the airway and ran back to help. Rustam and the Celtic FC player [Silvestre] that was medically trained had stayed behind to administer compressions.

It felt like forever as we waited for the ambulance to arrive, but moments before that, our friend was running from the gym holding a small white box with wiring, and I put it together that it was an AED, the portable defib machine. As we all huddled about in support, the shock was administered and we saw the collapsed player regain consciousness although he was very groggy. Clackamas Fire and Rescue arrived moments later and drove onto the track to get close to the bench. They immediately checked him out, put him on oxygen, talked with the folks that had administered care, and then asked all the players to grab their things so they would know which bag was the fallen player’s. They left moments later to take him to the hospital, and at least from what I've been told, he spent some time in ICU but he was doing pretty well. Under the circumstances, the CPR administered by the players and the AED helped keep him alive and most likely brought him back.

This whole thing just reinforced the importance of knowing CPR and getting accredited in that life saving skill, and I know that Old Growth FC and the rest of the Timbers Army Football Clubs are working with the 107ist to set up training for our team members that want to learn.

In an update on OGFC’s Facebook page, the Celtic coach said the Lupu was doing well and expected to undergo bypass surgery today. His doctor also said, “he should be able to get back out onto the pitch in about three months with no worries.” Here's to the quick thinking of both teams and to a full recovery for Lupu.