Pa. teen and baseball player gives umpire CPR
The 16-year-old used his CPR training to start compressions until help arrived; he is also a volunteer firefighter with two departments
By Caitlin Mccabe
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — Mike Brodzinski had just hit a double and was on second base Monday night when he looked across the field and saw the umpire collapse.
Within seconds, the Delaware County teenager was performing CPR - and maybe saving a life.
Ask Brodzinski about it, however, and the 16-year-old volunteer firefighter says it was just part of his job.
"I was definitely nervous about messing up, but it was my duty," Brodzinski said Tuesday. "So I got in there and started chest compressions and breaths until other help came."
The name of the umpire has not been released, but friends said he is recovering at a local hospital after surgery.
The incident happened Monday night during a recreation baseball game in Folcroft organized by the Delco Boys' Baseball League. When the umpire collapsed, many believed he had become overheated, Brodzinski said.
But as many tried to feed the umpire water, Brodzinski said, he realized the collapse was more serious. He administered CPR until emergency medical technicians arrived and took the umpire to a local hospital.
"Everything was happening quickly, and it was very overwhelming," said Drew Piselli, coach of Brodzinski's recreation team. "Mike was incredible."
Knowledge of CPR is not unusual for Brodzinski, who, since he was 14, has been volunteering at two local fire companies: Darby Fire Company No. 1 and the Sharon Hill Fire Company. He spends nearly five hours every weeknight volunteering, he said.
"It's just always been in me," Brodzinski said. "I want to help people. I want to become a career firefighter."
As a minor, Brodzinski is one of only a few junior firefighters for the companies, a designation that allows him to fight fires externally but not inside buildings.
He said he plans to enroll in a local fire academy after he graduates from Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, where he just finished his junior year. Brodzinski is also enrolled at the Delaware County Technical High School's Folcroft campus in a career and technical education program.
Brodzinski takes emergency and protective services courses, and he said he learned CPR training from the technical education program.
"It's pretty amazing that he took initiative, where most people would just stand there and call 911, or even film it these days," said Terry McCann, assistant fire chief at the Sharon Hill Fire Company.
Beyond firefighting, Brodzinski - whom teachers and coaches called "good-hearted" and "a joking kind of kid" - is a good student and a passionate baseball player.
"He hit our only home run this season," said Nick Russo, varsity baseball coach at Academy Park. "You can tell he loves baseball. He's definitely one of our best hitters."
More than 100 messages have poured in from community members, firefighters, and friends since the incident, Brodzinski said. But most important has been the response from the umpire's family.
"It's pretty cool, knowing that I helped him," Brodzinski said. "I want to make a whole career out of it."
©2015 The Philadelphia Inquirer