You Can Be Heroes
“When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”
-- Fred Rogers
Like Mr. Rogers, I find a lot of pretty ordinary people heroic, and oftentimes, those heroes are really just doing their jobs. Most recently (and relevantly, for this issue of Recreation Management), Buffalo Bills Assistant Athletic Trainer Denny Kellington’s actions stand out as that sort of doing-the-job heroism. Kellington, and the medical team on the field when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed due to cardiac arrest, performed CPR and defibrillation immediately—helping protect the player’s brain, and ultimately, saving his life.
It was a dramatic example of the importance of the athletic trainer’s role. Day-to-day, these professionals protect athletes from more ordinary injuries, but this incident highlighted how crucial they can be in the midst of a potential catastrophe.
And they’re not the only ones acting to provide that critical protection that prevents disaster. According to the International Lifesaving Federation, certified lifesavers and lifeguards rescue more than 1 million lives every year. Lifeguards may be in short supply these past few years, but there’s no denying their ability to step in and act as heroes, even if it’s just part of the job.
There are other day-to-day heroes in the sports, fitness and recreation arena, from the playground inspector who keeps an eye on kids’ safety to the weather watcher who ensures the team and spectators vacate the field before lightning gets too close.
Industry professional of all kinds are doing heroic work—which is ultimately about saving lives. It might be in a big way, as with Kellington’s on-field actions that saved Hamlin from death and cognitive deficit, or it might be one minor-seeming action, like the hands-on lessons provided by a personal trainer who helps keep aging folks functionally fit.
Whatever you’re doing out there to protect people from harm, to provide them with access to (physical and mental) health-boosting activities, to proactively plan facilities and activities that help people grow, connect, move, compete, play and have fun—keep it up!
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