News

April 15, 2008

Life-Saving Teamwork

Matt Kujovsky ’95 helps sustain life with CPR training facilitated by John Donleavy ’78

Matt Kujovsky ’95 was standing on the sideline when a referee dropped to both knees and hit the football field face first without raising a cushioning hand. For Kujovsky, the next series of events happened so fast they are a bit of a blur.

“I just started sprinting toward Moe [Haskell],” says Kujovsky, head varsity football coach and math teacher at the Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vt. “I don’t know how long I took and I was kind of in shock, but when I got to him my training just kicked in.”

Along with a fellow coach and parent, Kujovsky performed life-saving CPR on the unconscious official. He had received training from the Save A Life Foundation, brought to Vermont by John Donleavy ’78, whose teenager daughters attend the academy. The training was the first attempt to cover the faculty and students of an entire high school in Vermont.

“Students and faculty are frequently bystanders at emergency scenes and, given Vermont’s rural nature, when trained they can help sustain life until help arrives,” says Donleavy, president and CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company. “They can serve as a ‘medical care bridge’ in time of need. Even though I know that and believe it, every time I hear about Coach Kujovsky’s experience it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.”

A former member of Lafayette’s Division I-AA football team, Kujovsky hopes to spread awareness of the value of emergency training by discussing his experience publicly.

“I truly hope no one has to go through what I did,” he says. “But the fact is they will. If by spreading the word I encourage others to take the time to get trained it’s more than worth it. Seconds do count and saving a life changes your life.”

Donleavy and the Save a Life Foundation have reached out to Vermont’s Washington delegation for resources to help provide training to more Vermont schools.

“In times of need, Vermonters are good neighbors, quick to act. In this instance, the quick reaction and medical training of Matt Kujovsky saved a life,” noted Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in a written statement. “When it comes to preparedness in our communities, it’s been said that chance favors those who are prepared. This inspiring example can help encourage more Vermonters to be prepared for a time when they may have the chance to help someone in need.”

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